Afghanistan's rugged landscape is punctuated with the vestiges of war. (Photo by Robert E. McNulty)

It has long been my view that the source of conflict in Afghanistan results from a few factors, namely: poverty, a huge drugs cartel, an underdeveloped educational and civil society infrastructure, and a history of conflict. And among these, I would place poverty at the center. Today’s New York Times reports that huge mineral resources have been identified in Afghanistan and the value may be on the order of $1 trillion. This could be of enormous importance for the development of the country. According to the Times article, “Afghanistan could eventually be transformed into one of the most important mining centers in the world….” This has the potential to create real opportunities for many Afghans and in so doing, provide a strong alternative to the opium economy, which according to the World Bank accounts for about one-third of Afghanistan’s economy. (See Afghanistan: Drug Industry and Counter-Narcotics Policy.) (For the complete post, please click here.)


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