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Mining in Afghanistan: Another Failed Program, Half a Billion Dollars Later

© SIGARA US military complex of warehouses at Kandahar Airfield in Afghanistan cost $14.7 million to construct.
A US military complex of warehouses at Kandahar Airfield in Afghanistan cost $14.7 million to construct. - Sputnik International
A damning report from the Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction released on Friday exposes that the United States has spent nearly half a billion dollars and five years developing Afghanistan’s oil, gas and minerals industries -- with very meager results.

The United States Agency for International Development and the Pentagon Task Force for Business Stability Operations, had been attempting to develop an “extractive” industry in Afghanistan, to mine valuable minerals and other natural resources in the wartorn country. Raw material commodities are believed to be currently worth some $1 trillion.

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The report found that the program is failing due to poorly planned programs, inadequate infrastructure and an unhealthy relationship with the Afghan government. Many mines were found to be operating illegally, with profits going to insurgents, as efforts are hampered by corruption and lack of infrastructure.

“After operating in Afghanistan for 5 years, TFBSO left with nearly all of its extractive projects incomplete,” SIGAR found.

SIGAR reports have consistently found that USAID and the Defense Department have been inadequate in creating stability for the project, and this latest report was no different.

Further, Friday’s report highlights that the US spent $46.5 million to convince privately-held local companies to agree to develop the resources, but not a single entity signed a contract.

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