The recent report that Afghanistan has mineral deposits worth $1 trillion has led several writers to make a broad comparison to the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC).
Conflict in that country, which is blamed for killing more than 5 million people, is fueled in significant part by the illicit trade in minerals worth hundreds of millions of dollars per year. It’s worth delving into the less obvious links between mineral resources and instability in eastern Congo to illustrate the potentially grave effects of a gold, lithium, or niobium rush in Afghanistan.
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