UPDATE June 14 (NY Times): 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.It turns out that the information on Afghanistan's level of corruption (below) was felt to be so damaging by the Obama administration to its continued conduct of the war, that officials decided to release the information on what they really hope to extract from Afghanistan, even though at least some of Afghanistan's vast mineral deposits had been known about since the Soviet invasion during the 1980s:
American and Afghan officials agreed to discuss the mineral discoveries at a difficult moment in the war in Afghanistan. The American-led offensive in Marja in southern Afghanistan has achieved only limited gains. Meanwhile, charges of corruption and favoritism continue to plague the Karzai government, and Mr. Karzai seems increasingly embittered toward the White House.Isn't it nice to learn what this war is actually about, after nine years and so many thousand US and Afghani lives have been lost? This is what our tax dollars, children and national prestige were being spent on.
Some assert that Bin Laden and al Qaeda were pawns/creations of the CIA, used to get the Soviets out of Afghanistan. And some assert that Bin Laden and al Qaeda remained creatures of the US intel community at the time of 9/11. (Sure, we had troops going after him, but he also made some amazing escapes.) Was 9/11 the excuse to get us into Afghanistan so the US could gain control of its mineral wealth? I will attempt to explore this question in future.
A new report by Harvard and London School of Economics authors on the Afghan conflict was discussed by BBC:
Pakistani intelligence gives funding, training and sanctuary to the Afghan Taliban on a scale much larger than previously thought, a report says.Taliban field commanders interviewed for the report suggested that ISI intelligence agents even attend Taliban supreme council meetings.
Support for the Afghan Taliban was "official ISI policy" the London School of Economics (LSE) authors suggest...
Links between the Taliban and Pakistan's intelligence service have long been suspected, but the report's author - Harvard analyst Matt Waldman - says there is real evidence of extensive co-operation between the two.
"This goes far beyond just limited, or occasional support," he said. "This is very significant levels of support being provided by the ISI. "We're also saying this is official policy of that agency, and we're saying that it is very extensive. It is both at an operational level, and at a strategic level, right at the senior leadership of the Taliban movement."
Last week Afghan intelligence chief Amrullah Saleh resigned, saying he had become an obstacle to plans to talk to the Taliban.
Mr Saleh told Reuters news agency a day after quitting that the ISI was "part of the landscape of destruction" in Afghanistan and accused Pakistan of sheltering Taliban leaders in safe houses...
The BBC's Quentin Sommerville in Kabul says there is a growing understanding that military action alone will not be enough to bring peace in Afghanistan...