The good news from the men at the Pentagon is that beneath the landmines Afghanistan is sitting on a goldmine.
Exactly when they took their degrees in geology is unclear but officials have estimated that Afghanistan’s mineral resources could be worth $1 trillion.
This suspiciously round number appears to be based on geological surveys made decades ago as well as recent on-the-ground research.
How thorough that could have been is open to debate, given that it takes the world’s best miners about a decade to explore a new area.
Factor in Afghanistan’s size, and the Pentagon must have had an army of geologists working in the country since immediately after 9/11 to have accurately studied its terrain.
The $1 trillion figure is, therefore, highly misleading. It is a theoretical number and may have little relation to the value of resources that could actually be exploited.
WASHINGTON — Mining companies around the world are eager to exploit Afghanistan’s newly discovered mineral wealth, but executives of Western firms caution that war, corruption and lack of roads and other infrastructure are likely to delay exploration for years.
A few high-risk investors are sufficiently intrigued by the country’s potential to take an early look. JP Morgan, for instance, has just sent a team of mining experts to Afghanistan to examine possible projects to develop.
While the world focuses on the flood-ravaged Indus River valley, a quiet geopolitical crisis is unfolding in the Himalayan borderlands of northern Pakistan, where Islamabad is handing over de facto control of the strategic Gilgit-Baltistan region in the northwest corner of disputed Kashmir to China.
But reports from a variety of foreign intelligence sources, Pakistani journalists and Pakistani human rights workers reveal two important new developments in Gilgit-Baltistan: a simmering rebellion against Pakistani rule and the influx of an estimated 7,000 to 11,000 soldiers of the People’s Liberation Army.
China wants a grip on the region to assure unfettered road and rail access to the Gulf through Pakistan.
Many of the P.L.A. soldiers entering Gilgit-Baltistan are expected to work on the railroad. Some are extending the Karakoram Highway, built to link China’s Sinkiang Province with Pakistan. Others are working on dams, expressways and other projects.
Mystery surrounds the construction of 22 tunnels in secret locations where Pakistanis are barred. Tunnels would be necessary for a projected gas pipeline from Iran to China that would cross the Himalayas through Gilgit. But they could also be used for missile storage sites.
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Russia and China opened a historic oil pipeline in a move hailed by their leaders as the first step towards diversifying Russia’s energy exports away from Europe and towards its eastern neighbour.
The commercial logic of greater energy links between one of the largest producers of energy and the world’s largest consumer has outweighed political distrust between the two nations, which fought a brief war in 1969 and only two years ago finalised border delimitation.
Seen by many as a rogue nuclear state, Pakistan on Monday ironically became the head of the governing body of the UN nuclear watchdog--International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). In an election at a special one-day meeting in Vienna, IAEA's 35-member board of governors appointed Pakistan Atomic
WASHINGTON — The United States on Saturday welcomed a move by Nepal's Maoists relinquishing control of their People's Liberation Army, calling it a key step in the peace process in the Asian nation.
"A salute to Nepal for transferring command of Maoist forces to a special committee," US State Department spokesman Philip Crowley said in a message on the micro-blogging site Twitter. "This is a major step in the Nepalese peace process."
The comments came after the leader of the former guerrillas, now the main opposition party, handed control of 19,000 soldiers confined to cantonments around Nepal since the war ended in 2006 to a cross-party committee set up to decide their fate.
According to the poll, 72 percent of Americans agree with the statement that "Pakistan knew all along" where bin Laden was hiding. Only 14 percent disagreed, while 13 percent were not sure.
The American public’s skepticism about Pakistan is hardly surprising, given the heavy media focus placed on bin Laden’s compound – and details like its location near an Army garrison and the particulars of its elaborate construction – since Obama announced the secret operation into Pakistan Sunday night.
Pakistan's media regulatory watchdog has barred live broadcast by major foreign television channels from the garrison city of Abbottabad where Osama bin Laden was killed by US forces on May 2.
The Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority said it had "stopped the foreign satellite TV channels from illegal uplinking of signals and live covering (of) news from Abbottabad".
WikiLeaks, in one of the several cables that exposes ISI's links to terror groups, quotes a US cable as saying that an Algerian Al Qaeda militant arrested in 2002 said that his mission was to "kill Indians in India".
It further quotes the militant saying that the ISI "allowed" fighters to travel to India where they conducted bombings, kidnapping or killing Kashmiri people.
More significantly, the targets in Indian according to the militant, were chosen by the Pakistani Army.
Congress may consider cutting the almost $1.3 billion in annual U.S. aid to Pakistan if it turns out the Islamabad government knew where Osama bin Laden was hiding, the head of the Senate Intelligence Committee said Tuesday.
Sen. Dianne Feinstein, a Democrat, said she wants more details from CIA director Leon Panetta and others about the Pakistani government's role.
The Great Game.
The Great Game was a term used for the strategic rivalry and conflict between the British Empire and the Russian Empire for supremacy in Central Asia
. . . Salman Bashir, the country's foreign secretary, said in an interview with The Wall Street Journal that a repeat of Monday's raid could lead to "terrible consequences." . . .
"No self-respecting nation would compromise or allow others to compromise its sovereignty," Mr. Bashir said. "We want to make it absolutely clear to everyone—do not underestimate Pakistan's capabilities and capacity to do what is necessary for national security."
In response to the suggestion that terrible consequence would greet any future raid, a U.S. official said: "They need to spend less time lashing out at the U.S. and more time rooting out militants on Pakistani territory."