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Trump’s new Afghanistan strategy: We’ll stay engaged, but we want the mining rights

The Chinese have already inked a 30-year, $3 billion deal with the Taliban to mine copper

(National SentinelForeign Policy: You may recall during last year’s presidential campaign that then-GOP nominee Donald J. Trump rankled some foreign policy and military careerists and analysts when he suggested that the United States should have gotten at least some of Iraq’s vast oil reserves as compensation for sacrificing American blood and treasure there.

“It’s not stealing, we’re reimbursing ourselves,” Trump said.

Cue the outrage.

Well, Trump hasn’t changed his mind or his foreign policy strategy. In fact, he seems very serious about it.

As Breitbart News reports, however, Trump is not talking about Iraqi oil; he’s talking about Afghanistan’s vast mineral wealth, as “compensation” for our time and money spent there trying to turn the country into a terrorist-infested wasteland, where ne’er-do-wells gather to plan ghastly attacks on superpowers:

President Donald Trump’s administration has reportedly expressed interest in harnessing Afghanistan’s mineral resources valued in 2010 by the Pentagon at about $1 trillion.

The U.S. president has discussed the prospect of extracting the material with Afghan President Ashraf Ghani who has promoted mining as an economic opportunity for his country, one of the poorest in the world, reports the New York Times (NYT), adding:

Mr. Trump, who is deeply skeptical about sending more American troops to Afghanistan, has suggested that this could be one justification for the United States to stay engaged in the country. To explore the possibilities, the White House is considering sending an envoy to Afghanistan to meet with mining officials.

So, what brought this on? Well, as American taxpayers have been shelling out tens of billions of dollars and American servicemen and women have been fighting and dying there by the thousands, the Chinese have snuck in under the radar, tapping into what many believe is the world’s biggest trove of extremely valuable rare-earth metals.

And Trump wants to reverse the equation, at once ensuring the U.S. is compensated for its sacrifices while denying China such a strategic asset.

“Officials said Mr. Trump was determined not to spend American lives and treasure in Afghanistan only to watch China lock up its rare-earth deposits, which are used to make products from wind turbines to computer chips,” the Times noted.

Breitbart reported further:

Members of the Trump administration reportedly met with chemical executive Michael N. Silver last week to discuss the potential of mining the minerals.

American Elements, Silver’s company, specializes in the minerals found in Afghanistan, which are used in a range of high-tech products, notes the Times.

Afghanistan holds at least “60 million tons of copper, 2.2 billion tons of iron ore, 1.4 million tons of rare earth elements such as lanthanum, cerium, and neodymium, and lodes of aluminum, gold, silver, zinc, mercury, and lithium,” reported NBC News, citing the U.S. Geological Survey, which assessed Afghanistan’s mineral mother lode in 2006.

The Chinese have already inked a 30-year, $3 billion deal with the Taliban to mine copper, under the assurance that the Taliban won’t attack Chinese interests or mining operations.

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