It was reported today that the U.S. has identified vast mineral deposits in Afghanistan, including cobalt, copper, iron, gold and lithium.
The most significant finds are probably the lithium and cobalt. These metals are increasingly important for high-tech devices (particularly rechargeable lithium-ion batteries). They are also relatively rare and disproportionately found in unstable, unfriendly countries (Bolivia for lithium, the Congo for cobalt).
Now, it seems that there are vast, untapped deposits of each in a country which the U.S. military currently occupies. Our government now has a new incentive to yank the hands of Hamid Karzai and his cronies out of the cookie jar and send more soldiers to scour the hills looking for Osama.
Just think of the opportunity that Haliburton squandered when they pushed Bush to divert resources from Afghanistan to invade Iraq (and its oilfields) instead. They could have secured the rights to develop Afghanistan's vast mineral wealth at a fraction of the cost of the invasion of Iraq. And as an added bonus, their army of prospectors might have stumbled on Osama's cave.