Afghanistan is projecting to have trillions of dollars in rare earth metals. Countries are interested in swooping in on the country, such as China, must go by international rules. According to Shamaila Khan, AllianceBernstein’s director of emerging market debt, the Taliban militants have emerged with resources. They are a “very frightening prospect for the globe,” with minerals in Afghanistan that “maybe exploited.”
Over the weekend, the Islamist terrorist organization took control of Afghanistan’s capital, Kabul, and the Presidential Palace. This happened after President Joe Biden’s April decision to withdraw U.S. troops from Afghanistan, the Taliban made tremendous battlefield advances. The insurgents now control nearly the whole nation.
Rare Earth Minerals
According to a study in the news magazine The Diplomat, rare earth metals in Afghanistan should value between $1 trillion and $3 trillion in 2020.
According to Katawazai, Afghanistan has rare earth elements. These include lanthanum, cerium, and neodymium and veins of aluminum, gold, silver, zinc, mercury, and lithium.
As a result, international pressure should apply to China if it forms ties with the Taliban to produce economic benefits, Khan opined. She responded to a query about the commercial rationale behind China’s nod to the Taliban a day after the extremists seized over the country.
Chinas’ Role in Afghanistan
A foreign ministry spokeswoman stated that Beijing prepared for “friendly cooperation with Afghanistan only hours after the Taliban took over Afghanistan.”
China has maintained contact and communication with the Afghan Taliban. Moreover, it has played a constructive role in promoting the political settlement of the Afghan issue based on fully respecting Afghanistan’s sovereignty.
Furthermore, In recent days, Chinese official media appeared to mirror the foreign ministry’s remarks. On August 15, the Global Times reported, citing Chinese analysts, that concerned that China may send troops. Therefore filling the void left by the U.S. was “completely groundless.”
However, the state-run newspaper noted that the country might contribute to post-war rehabilitation and development by advancing projects under China’s proposed Belt and Road Initiative. The Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) is a massive infrastructure investment plan. It will connect China to Central Asia, Africa, and Europe via rail, road, and marine lines.
Dominance in The World’s Rare Metal
China has a global monopoly on the rare earth market. China holds around 35% of the world’s rare earth reserves, the most in the world. According to the research, a country is also a mining machine. Therefore, producing 120,000 metric tons, or 70% of total rare earth production, in 2018 compared to the United States.
Furthermore, China threatened to shut off the supply to the US amid its trade battle with the US in 2019.
According to the U.S. Geological Survey, the United States was significantly reliant on China for rare earth in 2019. The Asian country shipped 80 percent of the country’s requirements.