It has been reported that the Karzai government, which is fully controlled by the US, has nothing to counter the aggressive policy of the White House gorging on Afghanistan's free mineral resources.
The regional press has repeatedly reported that under the aegis of the so-called Provincial Reconstruction Teams (PRT) set up by the US, unlawful mining of Afghan precious and semi-precious stones is going on.
Some time ago the "Hindustan Times" and the "Tehran Times" reported that private US companies, including Pentagon's contractors, were engaged in a nearly industrial-scale unlawful mining of emeralds – the precious stones for which Afghanistan is famed. US soldiers also like to give their sweethearts and relatives the treat of Afghan emeralds, blue spars, rubies and sapphires. Considering that the US contingent in Afghanistan numbers some 20,000 troops, the scale of the "souvenir plunder" of that country is quite impressive.
Last year the Pakistani "Jang" daily, citing sources in Kabul, reported that one of the most serious conflicts between Karzai and Washington was caused exactly by the new Afghan leadership getting fed up with the Americans delving into Afghanistan's "treasure troves" as if it all belonged to them. The US attempting to unlawfully mine copper, zinc and gold was also mentioned at the time.
Obviously, it was precisely this conflict that made Hamid Karzai last April publicly call, for the first time, for reduction of the US presence in Afghanistan. Then people said, that in general Karzai cared not for Afghanistan as a state, but for his personal interests and those of the Western and Afghan companies sponsoring his regime.
To all appearances, Kabul and Washington had come, after all, to a kind of a compromise on the matter. In July the Afghan government adopted a law on that country's natural resources. According to the new law, henceforth the share of private investments in the study, prospecting and development of mineral deposits and oil/gas fields may reach 100 percent.
According to Afghan Minister of Mining Mir Mohammad Sidiki, the new law leaves the state with the control function alone. Thus, a green light has been given for a lawful plunder of Afghanistan. It goes without saying that in an occupied country all preferences for getting contracts will be given to the firms and companies of the occupier countries, otherwise the very presence of foreign troops in Afghanistan becomes devoid of any sense for those countries which have sent their troops there.
According to the data of the Afghan Ministry of Mining, there are about 300 localities in Afghanistan where mineral deposits, such as gas, uranium, copper, gold and coal, are being developed and which the government proposes to hand over to local and foreign capital. At present, documentation is being readied for a bid sale of the Ainak copper deposit in the province of Logar. According to the ministry data, Ainak's reserves constitute 3 million tons of copper and are valued at $33 billion today.
However, to all appearances, these "good intentions" of the Afghan government may be thwarted by the scandal involving the unlawful mining by the US of Afghan mineral deposits. The Pakistani newspaper "Navai Vaqt" has reported that American specialists have put on stream illegal mining of uranium at one of Afghan mines.
The mining is flagrantly illegitimate, and without any control of the radioactive background, as the ore is being mined for a pittance by barehanded and unprotected local laborers. The ore is shipped and guarded by US soldiers.
According to Pakistani journalists' data, Karzai has made a deal with Americans, so that the US would give Afghanistan a due compensation for the unlawfully mined uranium and for a number of other illegitimate excavations of Afghan mineral deposits.
Nevertheless, many people both in Pakistan and Afghanistan itself are certain that the scandal would have its follow-up. No doubt, the question of the unlawful development of Afghan deposits by foreigners will be raised again and again at sessions of Afghan parliament and government.