The never-ending gold rush in Afghanistan

My latest investigation is a joint piece for Declassified Australia and Declassified UK on the rush to exploit Afghan resources (mostly since 9/11):

The Taliban’s takeover of Afghanistan in August last year has caused the country to implode.

It was already on life support after more than 40 years of war but the swift removal of most foreign aid and implementation of Western sanctions have led to millions of Afghans being on the brink of starvation.

The Biden administration’s recent decision to split the billions of dollars of frozen Afghan bank assets with 9/11 victims will not alleviate the suffering.

Women’s rights are being highly impacted. The United Nations now says that only two percent of the population is getting enough to eat. Tens of millions of people can’t support themselves or their families. The harshest drought in 30 years is worsening an already disastrous winter.

However, the humanitarian crisis is just one of the disturbing elements of this long-running catastrophe.

A joint Declassified Australia-Declassified UK investigation has found that resource companies from Australia, as well as the US and the UK, tried to access the war-torn nation’s estimated US$3-trillion of undeveloped minerals in the years after the US-led invasion in 2001.

One huge Australian mining company had controversially stood to gain exclusive access to billions of dollars of Afghanistan’s mineral wealth, in a deal that seemingly evaporated with the fall of the government last year.

Now with the Taliban back in charge, these resources are still up for grabs and yet Western corporations are mostly not in the race to secure them.

Read the whole thing.

Text and images ©2023 Antony Loewenstein. All rights reserved.

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