Since the 2001 coalition invasion, Shroder reports a renewed interest in the role of natural resources in rebuilding the country. In fact, this development is seen as essential in keeping the Taliban and Al-Qaeda from re-emerging2. Recent geological surveys have found deposits of oil, gas and copper greater than previously thought. However, despite this and the fact that the calls for reconstruction have been strong, results thus far have been rather lackluster.
The author suggests several possible reasons for this paucity of development. Firstly, security has not been adequate. In order for development to flourish, sufficient security must be guaranteed so that companies can be reasonably sure of success, and corruption and renewed violence must be kept to a minimum. Also responsible for the lack of development are the absence of proper transportation infrastructure and the previous state stranglehold on extraction and export of its natural resources.
However, it seems that the government is adopting a new attitude to private investment which has seen contracts being agreed with foreign companies for gold, coal and gemstone mines and several cement factories. This willingness to embrace privatization alongside proposals for improved infrastructure is good news for the resource development community.
Now that the relatively rich resource base is understood, the author concludes by describing as ‘reprehensible and incomprehensible’ any decision by the USA and its NATO allies not to use the resources and plans outlined in this paper. Shroder further warns that “only continued firm commitment by the multinational consortia and their militaries coupled with well-controlled donations will keep Afghanistan from slipping back into the chaos so desired by the backward and violent Jihadi islamicists”.