China eyes $1 trillion of rare earth minerals in Afghanistan

Advertisement

Afghanistan possesses a vast amount of intact mines and natural resources, including lithium reserves, as well as other valuable resources….reports Asian Lite News

China is eyeing USD 1 trillion worth of untapped mineral deposits in Afghanistan after the Taliban takeover of the war-torn country, local media reported on Wednesday.

Afghanistan possesses a vast amount of intact mines and natural resources, including lithium reserves, as well as other valuable resources.

Over the weekend, Zhou Bo, a senior colonel in the People’s Liberation Army from 2003 to 2020, penned an op-ed in the New York Times, “With the US withdrawal, Beijing can offer what Kabul needs most: political impartiality and economic investment”, The Khaama Press reported.

He further noted that “Afghanistan, in turn, has what China most prizes: opportunities in infrastructure and industry building — areas in which China’s capabilities are arguably unmatched — and access to USD 1 trillion in untapped mineral deposits.”

Following the fall of Kabul into the hands of the Taliban, China last week said that it is willing to develop “friendly relations” with the terrorist outfit.

Afghan security forces inspect the site of a car bombing in Kandahar city, capital of Kandahar province, southern Afghanistan. (Photo by Sanaullah SeiamXinhuaIANS)

Earlier on July 28, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi met formally in Tianjin with a nine-member Taliban delegation, including Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar, the hardline Muslim group’s co-founder and deputy leader.

As the US evacuate thousands of Americans and vulnerable Afghans following a hasty troop withdrawal that brought the war to an end after 20 years, President Joe Biden still has the power to isolate any new Taliban-led government on the international stage and prevent most companies from doing business in the country.

The publication further reported that the United States maintains sanctions against the Taliban as a whole, and it has the ability to veto any efforts by China or Russia to loosen UN Security Council limits on the extremist group.

Meanwhile, the United States has already frozen over USD 9.5 billion in Afghanistan’s reserves, and the International Monetary Fund has halted funding for the country, including roughly USD 500 million that was set to be distributed around the time the Taliban seized power, The Khaama Press reported.

Last week, US Congressman Michael McCaul said that China is set to move to Afghanistan to mine rare earth minerals.

“China will be moving in. There are rare earth minerals in (Afghanistan). I don’t know why we didn’t work with the Afghans to develop that, but we never did. And now, you’re going to have China going in mining these rare earth minerals,” Sputnik quoted Ranking Republican on the US House Foreign Affairs Committee Michael McCaul as saying.

“As a result, China is the winner and the United States is the loser in this situation as are the Afghan people. The Taliban will have a huge windfall profit from this that they’ll put into terrorist financing,” he added, Sputnik reported.

Former US president Donald Trump in 2007 agreed with the Afghan government that to rapidly develop Afghanistan’s rare-earth minerals through US companies as a way to offset the costs of the war there.

Afghanistan is facing its worst-ever crisis in decades as the country’s government fell on Sunday and President Ashraf Ghani fled the country soon after the Taliban entered Kabul.

The terror group now controls the capital and has declared its victory over the government. (ANI)

ALSO READ: Does China’s BRI have a future in Taliban-ruled Afghanistan?