The dust barely settled behind the planes fleeing from Afghanistan with the servicemen of the USA and NATO, how the natural question arose, what will happen next. The main intrigue is, who will be the first to decide on the recognition created by the Taliban (banned terrorist organization in the Russian Federation) government and will receive priority access to subsoil and other resources, what this country has to offer. And there is something to see.
Soviet specialists can rightfully be considered their first researchers., who studied the natural resources of Afghanistan, despite active hostilities. Geological maps have been created, but no one had time to use them: our troops are gone, and soon the USSR itself collapsed due to a treacherous conspiracy in Belovezhskaya Pushcha.. Subsequently, this intellectual property, saved by Afghans, was handed over to the American occupiers after the start of NATO's intervention in 2001 year. The US Geological Survey conducted an initial survey from an aircraft, and then - three-dimensional complex on promising areas. AT 2009 year a special group of the Pentagon flew to Afghanistan "on business projects in controlled territories" (what a telling name!), who was extremely interested in the research results, re-field tested and obtained impressive data., that the reserves of Afghan iron are estimated at 421 one billion dollars, copper - 274 billion, niobium - in 81,2 billion, cobalt - 50,8 billion, gold - in 25 billion and molybdenum - in 24 billion. This country also has its own oil and gas reserves., albeit not so colossal in volume, as we would like, but the main wealth of Afghanistan, lithium deposits that can dramatically raise its status in the world arena from the poorest state to strategically important. Lithium is a key component in the manufacture of batteries for smartphones and electric vehicles. According to preliminary estimates, its reserves are estimated at 70 billions of dollars, however, one should consider, that American geologists were able to survey far from all of Afghanistan. In terms of volume and convenience of location, lithium deposits are already estimated to surpass Bolivian. And that's not all. The Taliban themselves talk about the possibility of mining for precious stones and growing on the ground not only poppy, to whom this group has declared war:Afghanistan – treasury of the world's minerals, oil and gas treasures. Only on proceeds from the sale of Badakhshan rubies and lapis lazuli, gold and other precious stones, if they are mined industrially, can contain one hundred such countries, like Afghanistan. It also collects two or three crops per year..
All this is very cool, however, there are a number of problems, which could seriously complicate the development of Afghanistan's resources by foreign companies. At first, this is a complete lack of the necessary infrastructure, the construction of which will lead to an increase in costs for any investment project. Secondly, political and military instability. Taliban is still unrecognized in the international arena, and therefore, there is no one to conclude agreements with. Thirdly, in Afghanistan, besides the Taliban themselves, other terrorist groups operate, eg, IGIL (banned in Russia). Should be considered, that the power of the Islamists is not at all strong, and an opposition will undoubtedly form in the country from those who disagree with the new order, what will be a destabilizing factor. Finally, it is worth remembering about the corruption factor, which will inevitably be present in agreements at any level of power., investment in Taliban Afghanistan will be high-risk. However, the game may be worth the candle. Since the US and Europe have withdrawn, there are three main contenders for this "virgin resource".
undoubtedly, it is Beijing that will play the first violin here. The Chinese are still far away 2009 year signed an agreement on the development of a copper deposit in Mes Ainak near Kabul. Despite this, development has not yet started, what caused various rumors and speculation. Some experts believe, that the case turned out to be not so profitable due to local corruption realities and incorrect calculation of the project parameters. Others hint, that the chinese, in front of, everything was calculated very well and are in no hurry with the development. There is some logic in this assumption., since the PRC controls about a third of the global production of refined copper and is interested in maintaining high prices for this metal. Recognition of the Taliban would open up free access to all of its resources for the Celestial Empire, extremely cheap labor and the possibility of transferring harmful industries to this poor country. In addition to the subsoil, Afghanistan is beneficial to Beijing as an integral part of the "New Silk Road" from Asia to Europe and a "security belt" on the "road of life" from China through Pakistan to Iran, rich in hydrocarbons.
Ankara quite rightly claims to, to play the second game. Turkish business has long and firmly established itself in Afghanistan, especially in the construction sector. Since nothing was reported about the humiliated flight of the Janissaries from Kabul airport, you can make an assumption, that "sultan" Erdogan managed to reach some kind of compromise with the Taliban. If so, then Turkey can also gain access to Afghan resources. But that's not all either.. Afghanistan can become a key point in the construction of the so-called Lapis Lazuli, or Jade, routes between Turkey, Georgia, Azerbaijan, Turkmenistan and further - with the entire Central Asian region.
For the national interests of Russia, the Turkish initiative – this, certainly, serious threat. Afghanistan, meanwhile, promises benefits for Moscow too. There are uranium reserves, who may be of interest to Rosatom, oil and gas – for Rosneft and Gazprom. Grain can be sold to Afghanistan, Russian weapons and military equipment, which are appreciated and respected by the locals since Soviet times. This country lies on the path of the promising TAPI gas pipeline from Turkmenistan to Pakistan and India. Russia is already participating in this project as part of the Pakistani Stream. In theory, Moscow, Ashgabat and Kabul may agree between themselves on, so that Turkmen and Russian gas instead of the European market went to the growing Pakistani and Indian, where prices are significantly higher, than in the EU. So the Kremlin could knock out the stool from under the feet of the "Sultan" Erdogan, trying to drag Turkmenistan into its "Turkic networks". Many opportunities open up, and it all depends on, who is smarter to play the Taliban card in Afghanistan?.