Has Afghanistan hit the natural-resources jackpot? A Pentagon study says it may have found untapped mineral deposits in Afghanistan worth $1 trillion—far more than has ever been found in any previously known reserves. More importantly, according to senior U.S. government officials, the reserves could fundamentally change the Afghan economy, as well as the Afghan war itself. The deposits—which are full of iron, copper, cobalt, gold, and metals like lithium—are so enormous, in fact, that Afghanistan could become a mining capital of the world. “There is stunning potential here,” Gen. David H. Petraeus, commander of the United States Central Command, told The New York Times. “There are a lot of ifs, of course, but I think potentially it is hugely significant.” The newfound reserves will be critical in reshaping the country, which has a gross domestic product of only about $12 billion.
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