TEHRAN (Press Shia Agency) – The people of Afghanistan are not going to profit from US mining rare-earth minerals there, US journalist and foreign policy strategist Michael Hughes said.
“It is always going to be the elite in that country and the foreign corporations” that benefit the mining in Afghanistan, Hughes said in an exclusive interview with Russia Today.
“Let’s face it. It sounds like a cliché and people roll their eyes, but it is neo-colonialism. The Afghans, just like oil in Africa, there is the resource curse: The people are not going to profit –it will always be the elite in that country and the foreign corporations…The Afghans are not going to benefit from this," he added.
"If anything, it causes a gold rush mentality, and because it’s so valuable it is going to fuel the insurgency, attract insurgents, even though, at the end of the day, the question of profitability remains… If this is some sort of gambit, like a form of foreign aid, it is totally delusional. It’s corporations selling [the idea of mining] and it is not credible to think this will be for the Afghan people,” he concluded.
President Trump met with Afghan leader Ashraf Ghani in New York on Thursday to discuss joint efforts to mine the country's mineral resources.
According to the US government, Afghanistan has a trillion dollars' worth of untapped rare-earth minerals, including those used in the production of electronics. That is about the same amount the US has spent in the country since the 2001 invasion.
Last month, president Trump outlined his new strategy for Afghanistan with thousands of extra troops and no deadline for a withdrawal, also saying Washington needs to think about its economic interests.