Speculation over Afghanistan’s potential mineral wealth is just that–speculation. What we do know about the hard reality of the country’s geography, infrastructure and development profile readily explains why we’re still talking about Afghan mineral wealth in the realm of potential trillions–it might certainly be there, but no one’s done the hard, serious work to find out for sure. 

And China is certainly not going to be the one to do it. Chinese involvement in Afghanistan isn’t going to be fueled by a desire to do serious survey and exploration work, building out roads and rail lines, developing a meaningful power grid, and then getting into the serious work of mining. In a land-locked country. Is China then going to truck ores and minerals into Pakistan and/or Iran for shipment? Or up and over the Hindu Kush to its sparsely-inhabited Western frontier? While battling militants and tribal war lords all along the way? Very likely not.

America did not leave behind a golden goose in the mountains of Afghanistan for the Chinese–or anyone–to come along and scoop up. Instead, China’s interests in Afghanistan lie in the same bucket of all of the neighboring states’: security, limiting cross-border militancy, and working toward some hope of containing refugee and militant flows. 

If you enjoy our free newsletters, the team at Zeihan on Geopolitics asks you to consider donating to Feeding America.

The economic lockdowns in the wake of COVID-19 left many without jobs and additional tens of millions of people, including children, without reliable food. Feeding America works with food manufacturers and suppliers to provide meals for those in need and provides direct support to America’s food banks.

Food pantries are facing declining donations from grocery stores with stretched supply chains. At the same time, they are doing what they can to quickly scale their operations to meet demand. But they need donations – they need cash – to do so now.

Feeding America is a great way to help in difficult times.

The team at Zeihan on Geopolitics thanks you and hopes you continue to enjoy our work.


Recommended Posts