Monday, March 13, 2017

To interest Trump, Afghanistan dangles investment opportunity

Afghanistan’s improbable investment pitch is a sign of a new Trump-era mind-set, in which foreign leaders are selling their nations in more explicitly economic terms than ever before.

Afghan officials say Trump, a veteran deal-maker, appears to be listening. “This is the first administration that is focused on Afghanistan’s economic potential, and we welcome that,” said Hamdullah Mohib, Afghanistan’s ambassador to Washington.

In a Dec. 3 phone call, Trump and Ghani discussed Afghanistan’s mineral wealth, whose value a Pentagon study has estimated at up to $1 trillion. An official Afghan readout of the call said that Trump told Ghani the U.S. wants to help Afghanistan develop its “tremendous natural resources.”

Perhaps the most notable of Afghanistan’s buried treasures are its large quantities of lithium, a silvery, soft metal crucial to laptop and cellphone batteries that’s sometimes called the oil of the future. A 2010 Pentagon memo concluded that Afghanistan could one day become “the Saudi Arabia of lithium.”

While few people associate impoverished and war-torn Afghanistan with high technology manufacturing, Kabul’s leaders believe they have a receptive audience in the White House. Trump officials, Mohib added, “are interested in minerals — specifically lithium.”

“They’re recognizing that Afghanistan has very vast potential resources,” said Mohammad Qayoumi, a top adviser to Ghani. - Read More, politico

To interest Trump, Afghanistan dangles investment opportunity


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