Go looking for Wahidullah Shahrani and chances are you’ll find him at an investor conference promoting Afghanistan as an ideal opportunity for global mining companies. By most accounts the minister of mines is an effective salesman. Yet, as investor interest grows, there are doubts about whether Afghanistan has the capacity to make the most of an expected surge in mining-related revenue.
Afghanistan’s mining potential appears to be huge. Depending on whom you’re talking to in either Washington or Kabul, there is anywhere from $1 trillion- to $3 trillion-worth of minerals waiting to be excavated in the country. Now, as the international community prepares to downsize both troops and aid, and Kabul prepares to open bidding on August 3 for the vast Hajigak iron ore deposits in central Afghanistan, a public debate is brewing on how Afghanistan’s mineral resources can best be put to use as an engine for long-term prosperity.
To read the full story
Aunohita Mojumdar is an Indian freelance journalist based in Kabul.