Archive for Hamid Karzai – Page 2

Key Karzai Aide in Corruption Inquiry Is Linked to C.I.A.


Just when I thought I was done posting for the evening...

Another day, another revelation:

KABUL, Afghanistan — The aide to President Hamid Karzai of Afghanistan at the center of a politically sensitive corruption investigation is being paid by the Central Intelligence Agency, according to Afghan and American officials.

Mohammed Zia Salehi, the chief of administration for the National Security Council, appears to have been on the payroll for many years, according to officials in Kabul and Washington. It is unclear exactly what Mr. Salehi does in exchange for his money, whether providing information to the spy agency, advancing American views inside the presidential palace, or both.

Mr. Salehi’s relationship with the C.I.A. underscores deep contradictions at the heart of the Obama administration’s policy in Afghanistan, with American officials simultaneously demanding that Mr. Karzai root out the corruption that pervades his government while sometimes subsidizing the very people suspected of perpetrating it.

The ties underscore doubts about how seriously the Obama administration intends to fight corruption here.


Afghan president Karzai strongly endorses Gen. McChrystal


Man, Karzai is just screwing this up more for the President. How does he fire McChrystal now? Nothing good will come out of this shitstorm.

(AP) – 20 minutes ago KABUL, Afghanistan — The spokesman for Afghan President Hamid Karzai says the leader believes Gen. Stanley McChrystal is the "best commander" of the war.

Karzai spokesman Waheed Omar says the president strongly backs the top commander in Afghanistan and hopes that President Barack Obama doesn't decide to replace him.


Omar says Karzai believes McChrystal "is a person of great integrity who has a very good understanding of the Afghan people and the Afghan culture."


VIDEO- Maddow on Afghan mineral find: "That's what Pentagon sources told the Times. But that doesn't appear to be true either."


In a previous post, I asked, slightly tongue in cheek, "what did we know and when did we know it?" referring to the discovery of a trillion dollars worth of mineral deposits in Afghanistan.

Rachel helps us answer that question by pointing out that...

"Pentagon sources told the New York Times that no one had connected the dots between the minerals and what it might mean for Afghanistan's economy until recently. Until last year. That's what Pentagon sources told the Times. But that doesn't appear to be true either. According to this geological survey press release from 2007..."

Here's the video:

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Wealth upon wealth upon wealth... but there's a catch. There's always a catch.

Which brings us to today's L.A. Times article that notes that extracting the minerals won't be easy:

A new Pentagon assessment released Monday says Afghanistan may hold a trillion dollars in mineral wealth, but the report ran into skepticism from miners and even other U.S. government officials. [...]

But mining industry officials and others were skeptical that massive amounts of mineral wealth could be easily extracted from the country's rugged mountains and remote regions.

"Sudan will host the Winter Olympics before these guys get a trillion dollars out of the ground," said Luke Popovich of the National Mining Assn., which represents U.S. mining companies. [...]

Experts said it would probably be years before the minerals could be profitably extracted because of the lack of infrastructure, mining know-how, security and a climate conducive to business.

To be continued...


U.S. Discovers Nearly $1 Trillion in Afghan Mineral Deposits


We're never leaving now, never:

The United States has discovered nearly $1 trillion in untapped mineral deposits in Afghanistan, far beyond any previously known reserves and enough to fundamentally alter the Afghan economy and perhaps the Afghan war itself, according to senior American government officials.

The previously unknown deposits — including huge veins of iron, copper, cobalt, gold and critical industrial metals like lithium — are so big and include so many minerals that are essential to modern industry that Afghanistan could eventually be transformed into one of the most important mining centers in the world, the United States officials believe.

An internal Pentagon memo, for example, states that Afghanistan could become the “Saudi Arabia of lithium,” a key raw material in the manufacture of batteries for laptops and Blackberries. [...]

“This will become the backbone of the Afghan economy,” said Jalil Jumriany, an adviser to the Afghan minister of mines. [...]

Instead of bringing peace, the newfound mineral wealth could lead the Taliban to battle even more fiercely to regain control of the country.

The corruption that is already rampant in the Karzai government could also be amplified by the new wealth  [...]

At the same time, American officials fear resource-hungry China will try to dominate the development of Afghanistan’s mineral wealth, which could upset the United States, given its heavy investment in the region.  [...]

Another complication is that because Afghanistan has never had much heavy industry before, it has little or no history of environmental protection either.

This could turn into Operation Who Gets Their Hands on the Treasure First.

Is it me, or is there some major new story that pops about every other day? Stories that complicate the messes we're already in to the nth degree?

My question? What did we know, and when did we know it?