National Security

Afghanistan: Was the Invasion to Control the Opium Trade and Acquire Natural Resources?

By Rene Sotolongo:

On October 7th, 2001 a date that many do not recognize, fifteen years ago, we invaded Afghanistan.

We were told the invasion of Afghanistan was to stop Al Qaeda, the Taliban and terrorism. We have had two World Wars that did not take as long as it has to “win” in Afghanistan. Fifteen years later and we are still there. Terrorism is arguably at an all-time high, and we are now dealing with an even larger threat, ISIS.

Why? The reality is we were fed a carefully constructed lie.

After a decade and a half the lies that were told to justify the war have slipped away and the naked greed of Wall Street has been exposed.

According to Global Research, the legal argument used by Washington and NATO to invade and occupy Afghanistan was the “doctrine of collective security.” In short, the September 11th attack on the United States constituted an undeclared “armed” attack from foreign powers abroad. The main culprit, we were told, was Afghanistan.

Afghanistan is without a doubt a strategic stronghold. It lies at the hub of Central Asia, sharing its border with the former Soviet Union, China and Iran. And up until the invasion, was “supposedly” a terrorist training haven.

But what many people do not know, and what has been kept secret, is the unbelievable amount of untapped natural gas reserves and mineral wealth of Afghanistan.

According to a report by the New York Times, quoting a joint report by the Pentagon, the US Geological Survey (USGS) and USAID, Afghanistan is now said to possess “previously unknown” and untapped mineral reserves, estimated authoritatively to be in excess of one trillion dollars.

The war in Afghanistan is a war for resources.

The Pentagon’s near one trillion dollar “estimate” of previously “unknown deposits” is a useful smokescreen. The Pentagon one trillion-dollar figure is more a trumped up number rather than an estimate. Here is why.

Lithium is an increasingly vital (and valuable) resource. Lithium is used in everything from mobile phones to laptops. Its primary purpose is in batteries. According to a report by the New York times, at present Chile, Australia, China and Argentina are the main suppliers of lithium to the world market. With Bolivia and Chile having the largest known reserves of lithium

However, according to unnamed sources in Afghanistan, “the Pentagon has been conducting ground surveys throughout western Afghanistan. In fact, “Pentagon officials said that their initial analysis at one location in Ghazni province showed the potential for lithium deposits as large as those of Bolivia.” And that is in just one location in Afghanistan.

Over the past 40 years, several dozen deposits have been discovered in Afghanistan, and most of these discoveries were sensational yet they were kept secret by the powers that be.

Geological surveys conducted by the Soviet Union in the 1970s and early 1980s confirm the existence of vast reserves of lithium, copper (among the largest in Eurasia), iron, high grade chrome ore, uranium, beryl, barite, lead, zinc, fluorspar, bauxite, tantalum, emeralds, gold and silver. In fact, Extensive Soviet exploration produced superb geological maps and reports that listed more than 1,400 mineral outcroppings, along with about 70 commercially viable deposits.

The geological resources in Afghanistan are so vast, that during its Soviet occupation, the Soviet Union committed over $650 million for exploration and development. One such proposed project included an oil refinery capable of producing a half-million tons per year. There were also plans for a smelting refinery for the Ainak deposit. This smelting refinery was projected to produce 1.5 million tons of copper per year.

After the Soviets withdrew from Afghanistan, the World Bank performed an analysis on the capacity of the Ainak deposits. The World Bank discovered that the Ainak Deposits copper production alone could eventually capture as much as 2 percent of the annual world market.

One must also consider Afghanistan’s geographical location. Afghanistan is a land bridge. As such, it can be argued that one critical (if not the principal) reason for the invasion of Afghanistan was to secure control over the strategic “Trans-Afghan transport corridor.” This vital corridor links the Caspian Sea basin to the Arabian Sea.

Turkmenistan possesses the third largest natural gas reserves after Russia and Iran. Strategic control over the transport routes out of Turkmenistan, principally the Trans-Afghan corridor, have been part of Washington’s agenda since the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991. The attack on September 11th was just the excuse Washington needed.

The CIA Connection

The “Golden Crescent” trade in opiates constitutes, at present, the centerpiece of Afghanistan’s export economy. The heroin trade, instated at the outset of the Soviet-Afghan war in 1979 and protected by the CIA, generates cash earnings in Western markets in excess of $200 billion dollars a year.

Since the 2001 invasion, narcotics production in Afghanistan has increased more than 35 times.

In 2009 alone, opium production stood at 6900 tons. To put that in perspective, opium production was less than 200 tons in 2001. In this regard, the multibillion-dollar earnings resulting from the Afghan opium production largely occur outside Afghanistan. According to United Nations data, the revenues of the drug trade accruing to the local economy are of the order of 2-3 billion annually. There was no way the CIA or its controllers were going to let that amount of money to be controlled by anyone else.

Bottom Line: the US-NATO agenda for Afghanistan has nothing to do with terrorism. But everything to do with money. The end goal is to eventually take possession of Afghanistan’s vast natural reserves, preserve the opium trade and deny these resources to Russian, Iranian and Chinese energy interests in Afghanistan.

Rene C. Sotolongo is an OpsLens Contributor and a retired U.S. Navy Chief Petty Officer who served for over twenty years as an Information Systems official. Sotolongo also specialized in homeland security and counterterrorism.

Join the conversation!

We have no tolerance for comments containing violence, racism, vulgarity, profanity, all caps, or discourteous behavior. Thank you for partnering with us to maintain a courteous and useful public environment where we can engage in reasonable discourse.