US President #Donald Trump is keen to enter into a business deal with #afghanistan President Ashraf Ghani to mine the mineral resources available there. Major deposits of rare-earth minerals are believed to be in Helmand Province and large areas here are controlled by the Taliban who have regular confrontations with the law enforcement agencies to assert their control. That leads to the death of not only innocent civilians but also the law enforcement agencies and the casualty figures are high on both sides.

Business potentials in Afghanistan

According to New York Times, the United States has been in Afghanistan for the last 16 years and exploiting its mineral resources was on the agenda of former Presidents.

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In 2006, the George W. Bush administration had carried out aerial surveys to assess the feasibility of such a venture and its profitability. Subsequently, in the regime of President Barack Obama, the Pentagon had established a task force to build a mining industry in Afghanistan but the project could not take off because of several factors. These were rampant corruption in the system, lack of proper communication network in the form of roads, and railways and non-availability of adequate infrastructure like dams and bridges.

President Donald Trump, who is in the chair now, is a businessman at heart and, in his opinion, mining was a solution that would serve to not only boost the economy of Afghanistan but, simultaneously, generate jobs for Americans to reduce unemployment. Of course, it would also provide the United States an opportunity to market rare-earth minerals that are available in abundance in the rocky terrains.

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China has already descended on the scene and has bagged a contract worth billions to develop a copper mine in the vicinity of Kabul.

The groundwork is ready

A person like Donald Trump will not let go of such an opportunity to expand his business. He has set the ball in motion and has discussed the matter with Afghanistan President Ashraf Ghani. It seems both the leaders have agreed in principle that promoting mining will mean more economic opportunities for Afghanistan and also justify continued presence of American forces there. White House is believed to be in talks with experts in the field to fine tune the process of extracting rare-earth minerals that are the building blocks of a range of high-tech products.

Incidentally, some of the country’s richest deposits are in areas that are controlled by the Taliban and it would be necessary to counter their threats. President Ashraf Ghani has promoted his country’s mineral wealth to President Trump who is a businessman and would want to explore the commercial possibilities. U.S. officials had estimated in 2010 that the value of untapped mineral resources in the country was in trillions of dollars and it could be exploited to mutual advantage. #Rare Earth Minerals