Govt. Debunks Reports that Kyrgyzstan Requested American Military Assistance

MP refutes reports that Kyrgyzstan has requested military assistance from the U.S.
June 14, 2010, 13:14
CA-NEWS (KG) – Press Service of the Provisional Government denies the message that the president of the transitional Rosa Otunbayeva appealed for military help to the U.S..

As reported at the site of VP, 13 June 2010 on the site FOREIGN POLICY (http://oilandglory.foreignpolicy.com) published an article by Steve Levine «Kyrgyzstan requested US military aid and rubber bullets but was turned down» (Kyrgyzstan has requested military assistance and rubber bullets in the U.S., but was denied), in which the author quoting unnamed sources said that the President of the Provisional Government of the KR Rosa Otunbayeva informally appealed for military help to the U.S. before they request such assistance from the Russian Federation.

Untagged Vehicles, Young Women, Old Ladies–Elements of the Kyrgyz Intrigues

T. Sariev: VP considering the question of external assistance to resolve the situation in Osh
June 12, 2010, 13:49
CA-NEWS (KG) – The situation at present in southern Kyrgyzstan remains extremely difficult and complex, said the agency AKI deputy chairman of the Provisional Government, the Minister of Finance Temir Sariev.

– How would you describe the situation in the Osh region?

– A curfew was introduced, but unfortunately, due to limited resources, including human, can not take control of the city of Osh, which is a cosmopolitan city with a large territory and a dense population. Interethnic conflict in any country is very heavy. Besides, a lot of rumors that pour “fuel to the fire” and create additional tension. The situation here is due to such moments.

The Provisional Government is taking all measures, but while the situation remains complicated. To date, it is well known that there are instigators and provocateurs, including a group of persons who in cars without number plates appear in different places, use weapons and disappear. Other instigators of spreading rumors. In this situation, people are very easy to provocations, so I would urge people to remain calm and not to succumb to provocations.

We need to understand the depth of the crisis, and each of us to draw conclusions. In the regions – in Talas, Naryn and Issyk-Kul, Batken, Jalal-Abad, we must ensure the normal existence of all governments, not to escalate, not to call for the rally, when many people taking advantage of the situation, placing the political demands and want the situation worsens.

Instigators and rumormonger probably now realize that all their actions lead to such disasters.Yesterday, in Bishkek, will go out the young, among whom were specially trained women and elderly people, who understand perfectly well where and what to say, and many of the patriotic feelings yield to emotions, and the crowd became uncontrollable. Yesterday managed to calm people, spending enormous strength. Today, the south needs more forces to stabilize the situation, and therefore would appeal to people that they understand the depth of the situation and helped to stabilize it.

Interim Government will take all measures for the early stabilization. Perhaps those people who said that the referendum would not be close to success. All these actions provoked to disrupt the referendum.

– This morning a meeting of the government, which was decided on the transfer of additional forces and providing food to the population of Osh …

– Yes, additional forces would be Ministry of Internal Affairs deployed in the Osh region.

With regard to food. We de-reserve the flour, now is grinding grain. MES and the heads of regions involved in baking bread, distributing flour in order to provide people with food. In Bishkek, formed caravans that lucky food essentials in the Osh region.

In addition, the Provisional Government appealed to international organizations, businesses and citizens to assist the population of Osh. Open Fund to provide humanitarian aid in southern appeal through the media to the citizens of rural areas in order to help the bread, flour or other food essentials.

– Was not raised at the meeting, the issue of foreign aid to resolve the situation?

– This is a political issue, and it worked out.

Provocateurs/Killers In Kyrgyzstan Are a “Different Nationality”

The situation in the Osh region – global competition at a global level – political scientist M. Sariev
June 13, 2010, 21:27
CA-NEWS (KG) – The situation in the Osh region – global confrontation on a global level, the analyst believes Mars Sariev. He told news agency AKI on June 13, commenting on the situation in Osh region.

According to him, in the Osh region – the fragile stability, more or less maintained the order, but this delicate balance may at any moment topple. The political scientist noted that the more he is concerned about a lull in Bishkek, because of military logic, when all the security agencies deployed in the south, must be something to start in Bishkek.

Talking about the sources of destabilization of the situation in the south, M. Sariev noted that all the events in the south of choreographed, and they are not accidental. As he said, autonomous groups of provocateurs fired in the Kyrgyz and Uzbeks. “In fact, they are a different nationality – this is already confirmed. There is a big game, which is not confined only to Bakiyev, they are simply executing an ordinary plan – players. In fact, there is global competition on a global level “, – he said.

The political scientist believes that Russia has delayed send troops into the republic, because he’s afraid to get involved in a second Afghanistan, and the peacekeepers will be perceived a certain part of the population of Kyrgyzstan, as an occupying force. If they will continue to procrastinate, and the number of casualties will be much more, then no one will perceive their actions by the occupation.The greater the pause, the chances of them growing enter painless “- he said.

Shame Over Western Blindness To Kyrgyz Reality

Danish journalist Michael Andersen: “I am ashamed that in Europe, nor the media nor the politicians do not react to the events in Kyrgyzstan”

Maria Yanovskaya

Майкл Андерсен

Danish journalist Michael Andersen lived for many years in the countries of Central Asia and is aware of the situation in southern Kyrgyzstan is not hearsay

European media have shown little interest in developments in southern Kyrgyzstan. For them it is – the distant ethnic clashes between peoples, whose existence they barely heard. Today, media interest is dictated by either the national interest – and European interests there in a small poverty-stricken Kyrgyzstan, – a bright photographs, “images”, which is also very little, because of Osh and Jalal-Abad closed to foreign correspondents. So, the pain and blood Osha not eclipse news number one – FIFA World Cup. On the reaction of the European media “Fergane.Ru tells Danish journalist Michael Andersen.

Fresh fires burn in Kyrgyzstan as ethnic Uzbeks flee

Fresh fires burn in Kyrgyzstan as ethnic Uzbeks flee

Ethnic Uzbek man by his burned home in Osh, Kyrgyzstan (14 June 2010)

Uzbek homes have been set on fire in the clashes


Sporadic fighting has continued in south Kyrgyzstan in the country’s worst ethnic violence in years, say reports.

At least 117 people have been killed in three days of fighting between Kyrgyz and ethnic Uzbeks.

The city of Osh was relatively quiet on Monday, said correspondents, but fresh fires were reported in Jalalabad.

Tens of thousands of Uzbeks have fled to Uzbekistan. Some have accused security forces of failing to stop – or joining in – the attacks.

The exact cause of the latest clashes is unclear, but it comes two months after President Kurmanbek Bakiyev was ousted in a violent uprising.

Mr Bakiyev still has supporters in the south of the country and there have been concerns that his overthrow might exacerbate historical tensions between the ethnic groups. Mr Bakiyev has denied any involvement in the latest violence.

I’ve overheard them say that they will burn the buildings and shoot us when we flee

Gulnara, OshEyewitness reportsFear and shock as Uzbeks flee

The UN is sending an envoy to the capital to assess what may be done.

The south of Kyrgyzstan, an ex-Soviet Central Asian state of 5.5 million people, is home to an ethnic Uzbek minority of almost one million.

The clashes are the worst ethnic violence to hit southern Kyrgyzstan since 1990, when several hundred people were killed. Kyrgyzstan was then part of the Soviet Union, which sent in troops to quell the unrest.

Russia is reported to be considering a request for help from the interim government, but correspondents say Moscow will be unwilling to act alone.

Moscow is hosting a meeting of the Collective Security Treaty Organisation (CSTO), a grouping of former Soviet states, on Monday to discuss what it can do to end the violence.

Mass burials

Izzat Ibragimov, the deputy head of emergency services in Uzbekistan, told the AFP news agency 60,000 adult refugees had been officially counted in the country’s Andijan region. Thousands more children were with them, he said.

Some of the refugees accused the military of siding with armed gangs of ethnic Kyrgyz.

Footage posted on YouTube appears to show the unrest in Osh

Video footage obtained by the BBC at the weekend from local Uzbeks appeared to show a military armoured personnel carrier being cheered on by Kyrgyz men as a military officer fires towards the Uzbeks.

Witnesses across the southern Ferghana Valley region have spoken of Kyrgyz men shooting ethnic Uzbeks and setting property alight.

There were reports of bodies lying in the streets and in smouldering buildings, and of mass burials being carried out.

The BBC’s Rayhan Demytrie in Osh says that many ethnic Uzbeks in the city are trapped in their homes – fearing attacks from mobs on the streets if they leave – and are in urgent need of food and supplies.

Some Uzbek men were guarding their homes from potential attacks.

“This will be remembered. It’s impossible to live together, we will never live together again,” one Uzbek man in Osh told AFP.

The situation in Osh was relatively calm on Monday morning, said our correspondent.

But a government officials said the security situation was deteriorating in nearby Jalalabad.

“There are local clashes and it is not yet possible fully to contain the situation,” said Temir Sariyev, deputy chief of the interim government.

He said “armed groups” were breaking through and that the security forces were “insufficient” to contain the violence.

Shops and a market in the city were set on fire and crowds were reported to be gathering, with no sign of a police or military presence.

The interim government said a “well-known person” was arrested in Jalalabad on Monday on suspicion of being behind the unrest, Reuters reported. No further details on the alleged arrest were available.

The Kyrgyz government on Sunday extended a state of emergency to cover the entire southern Jalalabad region.

Map of Kyrgyzstan

President Bakiyev, who was ousted in April and now lives in Belarus, has denied the accusations that he is involved in the unrest in order to derail a 27 June constitutional referendum and elections scheduled for October.

On Saturday, the interim government in the Kyrgyz capital, Bishkek, gave security forces shoot-to-kill powers.

It also urged Russia to send in troops to help quell the violence, but Moscow said it had no plans to intervene.

However, Russia sent a battalion of paratroopers – at least 150 soldiers – to protect a Russian air base in the north of Kyrgyzstan.

Lackadaisical urgency

Lackadaisical urgency

—Mir Mohammad Ali Talpur

The prime minister, in one of his rare trips to Balochistan, recently announced that the atrocities would soon end in Balochistan. One is forced to wonder how soon this ‘soon’ will turn out to be. For all the promises, packages and pledges of the past 63 years have come to naught. The people of Balochistan are now neither taken in by packages nor do they trust promises any more.

The credibility gap is just too enormous to be bridged by flimsy structures of professed good intentions and oft-expressed brotherly sentiments. Prime Minister Gilani’s statement reminded me of Sheikh Saadi Shirazi’s famous quote:

“Ta Tariaaq Az Iraq Mee Aayad,

Maar Guzida Murda Mee Shawad.”

(By the time medicine arrives from Iraq,

The snake-bitten person will be dead.)

The alienation and insurgency results from the injustices and usurpation of rights; this insurgency, contrary to the government’s claims, is indigenous and self-sustained. The media makes even more preposterous claims of foreign powers dividing Balochistan. More importantly, in contrast to the past, it has as its leaders and fighters the entire spectrum of Baloch society, tribes and regions within Balochistan. The leadership is no longer with individuals who can be bought or coerced. This is amply proved by the unrelenting and increased frequency of attacks across Balochistan.

Among the Baloch grievances are, if indeed they need to be repeated, the issue of missing persons, demographic changes, the building of cantonments and naval bases, rights over use of resources, permanent state of siege, the sustained security operations, the brutal suppression of peaceful protests, plight of the IDPs and apathy in natural disasters. These remain unaddressed yet and will remain so because of the lackadaisical approach to urgent problems by the government. Unfortunately, this government earnestly believes that it is performing miracles with its half-hearted apologies, flawed NFC Awards and the comically named packages.

Sardar Ataullah Mengal, the veteran Baloch leader, in a recent BBC interview was critical of the government’s intentions and actions; he said that preparations to launch a renewed military operation were afoot. According to various sources, an operation in Dasht, Makran, is underway. Prime Minister Gilani had met him recently and the government considered it a breakthrough but the fact is that though he is one of the most influential leaders in Balochistan, the present struggle is in the hands of a cadre that demands independence, works independently of political parties and personalities and looks contemptuously at the demands for elections and provincial autonomy. They are in no mood to compromise and whosoever attempts a backdoor deal will be completely isolated and sidelined.

The Naval presence jeopardises the livelihoods of fishing communities and in the past incidents of violence against them and consequent retaliation has occurred as in January 2006; when three launches of the Pakistan Navy’s submarine force at the Fish Harbour in Gwadar were set alight by militants (read infuriated fishermen). A few days before, dozens of fishing boats were damaged by the security forces for violation of a fixed schedule by the fishermen.

Admiral Noman Bashir, Chief of the Naval Staff, in a recent lecture said that Gwadar was a “totally commercial port” but the navy needs to have a greater presence at the facility to secure its defences. In response to a query about the possibility of a Mumbai-like terrorist strike from the sea against Karachi, he said this threat existed. I wonder why FATA and Punjab-based terrorists would take this route. More naval bases mean more problems.

Protests in Balochistan are routinely dealt with excessive and indiscriminate force. Police firing, during recent protests against arrests of BNP leaders, left Naseer Ahmed Langov dead and many injured. The spate of successful shutterdown strikes affecting the entire province confirms increasing resentment; which is also being expressed in harsher manner as well.

The agony of the missing persons and their families remain undiminished and those like Murad Khan Marri were produced after inhuman tortures and languishing in jails because of concocted charges. The IDP families suffer immeasurably but are not even acknowledged by the authorities.

The disastrous floods of August 2003, of February 2005, and July 2007 are bitter memories in the minds of the people in Balochistan. Not only because there was inadequate relief and disregard for affected people’s plight but even donors’ help was curtailed on the plea of sensitive areas. Reports coming in indicate that the response for Cyclone Phet-affected people is no different.

The claims that the army’s replacement by the FC has eased the ‘state of siege’ situation in Balochistan are fallacious. Raisani has often accused it of running a ‘parallel government’ due to its high-handedness and vigilantism. The FC makes the life of travellers miserable, especially in the Marri area, as they search even more thoroughly than US airport officials. They open fountain pens to see if they hide detonators. Their checkpoints at Wanga, Bor and Triman are especially severe and those showing resentment are wilfully delayed. In spite of this a PTCL telephone tower was blown up near Mawand recently.

The ruling coterie of Balochistan represents the height of naïveté. Nawab Mohammad Aslam Raisani recently said that unless the youth of Balochistan became part of the military and civil bureaucracy, a tacit admission that these two in fact rule this country, they could not achieve their right to rule the province. He did not however explain how this would solve the immediate problems confronting the Baloch people today because these newly inducted servants would need eons to secure even an iota of influence required for amelioration of the prevailing insufferable conditions. He added that the Balochistan package offered over 16,000 jobs to educated youths and the armed forces were offering thousands of jobs as well. They fail to comprehend that the requirements of human dignity go beyond jobs.

All the rulers here have been visionless and ham-fisted, their ineptitude and complacency have brought matters to this abysmally pathetic pass. Cocooned in their mansions and disconnected from the people, they have failed to understand that even a minute of suffering is like an eternity for the people. Having made the Baloch people needlessly suffer for 63 years, they still want and expect them to be patient until they find time to solve their problems. Like always, their promises, packages and pledges are too little and too late — the difference being that the people no longer have the forbearance to wait till eternity and are seeking solutions by other means. (Courtesy: Daily Times, Lahore)

Mir Mohammad Ali Talpur has an association with the Baloch rights movement going back to the early 1970s. He can be contacted at mmatalpur@gmail.com

Balochs Asking for Basic Human Rights

[The province of Balochistan is the best possible location to have yourself a secret war.  It is the prime piece or real estate in all of Pakistan (speaking of natural resources only) and it has historically endured a total news blackout. This is Pakistan’s “Iron Curtain,” or in the case of Balochistan, a gold or copper “curtain” would be more accurate. Nothing escapes from Balochistan; there is no “news” that has not been filtered to comply with government wishes.  More than anything, the Pakistani government does not want the world to witness the suffering of the Baloch people.  If international aid was accepted for the devastation brought by cyclones, then aid workers and human rights groups would see and hear about the human-caused silent devastation that eats away at Baloch society.

Paradoxically, even though it is the richest province, Balochistan  is populated by the poorest people in all of Pakistan.  The daily organized robbery of natural resources by the government and the Sardar system that rules over the people, inflicts devastation on the Baloch soul.

Into this mixture of suffering and organized looting at gunpoint, add American military intervention (to internationalize the looting and the robbery).  The US military wants to carry its own secret war from Afghanistan into Balochistan.  This is a scenario for the perfect storm.

Balochistan must find its voice!  The world must know what is happening there, if you are ever to break the cycle of slavery.   A news service operates on the principle of the chain.  There needs to be links between events on the ground there and an external transmitter.  Citizen journalists connecting events to the Internet, as long as the connection remains unbroken.  The people of the world, who happen to love Pakistan in spite of its many faults, also worry about what happens behind the curtain.

Let the world know what is happening there.  There Are No Sunglasses remains an open door for all Pakistanis and citizens of every country.

Send news leads to the following address:  peter.chamberlin@hotmail.com  ]

Citizens, not subjects

THE policy maintained by Islamabad vis-à-vis Balochistan can be likened to the Iron Curtain.There is very little prospect of the centre’s powerful security apparatus permitting international humanitarian organisations such as the UN Office of the Coordinator for Humanitarian Affairs to conduct a standard survey and assistance exercise to assess the havoc wreaked by Cyclone Phet in the coastal areas of the province.

This is not the first time that the Baloch people have been left to the mercy of a natural disaster. In July 2007, the then prime minister Shaukat Aziz announced that “Pakistan will not take foreign aid from any country to overcome the losses and devastation caused by Cyclone Yemyin in Balochistan”.

The Musharraf regime ignored the situation that year and hampered access to national and foreign donors. Meanwhile, the operation at Lal Masjid distracted the local and foreign media from the appalling humanitarian crisis in Balochistan. Flash floods damaged infrastructure to the tune of Rs1tr, affected more than 6,500 villages and destroyed 80,000 houses.

The recent widespread torrential rains, accompanied by the cyclonic winds of Phet, lashed the Makran coast and parts of central Makran on June 4. Many are dead or injured, and hundreds of fishing boats have been reported missing from the Gwadar, Pasni, Jiwani and Peshkan areas.

The rain submerged all the roads and development projects in Gwadar district. The coastal highway, which was constructed by the Frontier Works Organisation, was badly damaged at several points and a bridge linking Gwadar with Jiwani was washed away. Thousands were rendered homeless as hundreds of mud houses belonging to the impoverished Baloch collapsed due to heavy rains.

According to the initial survey and information collected by the Balochistan Institute for Development, hundreds of villages have been badly affected in Gwadar, Lasbela and Kech districts. Gwadar’s Mullah Band locality, near the deep sea port, has been badly hit and around 5,000 people moved without any governmental support to nearby localities.

More than 4,000 people were affected as a result of flooding from the Aakrra Kaur Dam near Gwadar. In Lasbela district five people died in rain-related incidents in the Damb, Sonmiani and Gaddani areas. According to local experts the situation in certain areas is critical and affected communities are vulnerable to malaria and dengue fever epidemics.

Despite warnings issued by the United Nations and the meteorological office, the government has more or less failed to establish makeshift camps in coastal towns and evacuate people from vulnerable areas. This has resulted in heavy losses of property of communities that were already underprivileged.

An alert issued by UN offices in Pakistan on June 2 said that the flash floods could cause a repeat of the 2007 floods in Sindh and Balochistan following Cyclone Yemyin. Those floods affected 1.5 million people, 250,000 of whom were made homeless and another 300,000 displaced.

Balochistan has not yet recovered from the drought that ravaged the province between 1999 and 2003. It is still reeling from the effects of the ongoing military assault that started in 2005 and that resulted in killings, disappearances and an economic blockade. It still bears the scars of Cyclone Yemyin. This year’s cyclone has only added to existing miseries and will have a continuing and devastating impact on the socio-economic conditions of the province.

In the early phase of the 2007 cyclone, the central government initially dropped a few relief packages. Later, however, it refused all international aid and assistance without providing Balochistan with any reason or justification. The flood-affected people in western Balochistan are still in self-constructed shelters in and around Turbat city, and are exposed to extreme weather conditions.

Prime Minister Gilani recently conceded that mistrust exists between the Baloch people and Islamabad. The former have been disregarded and treated as subjects rather then citizens. The previous government also ignored the resolution passed by the Balochistan Assembly for mobilising resources by organising a large-scale donor conference in Quetta along the pattern of the Earthquake Relief Donors Conference held in Islamabad in 2005.

The province is a high-risk zone for disasters that include drought, earthquakes and tsunamis. The lack of disaster-risk management strategies is causing immense loss in terms of lives, infrastructure and livelihood in the disaster-prone Balochistan region. Suffering as a consequence of floods has been exacerbated by dams and dykes whose designs are flawed. The overflow of water from the Mirani Dam triggered by Cyclone Yemyin caused severe flooding in Turbat in 2007, for example.

No useful information, flood risk mapping or communication tools have been disseminated by any government agency to create awareness among the inhabitants about probable floods and rescue strategies.

Flood-risk mapping is one of the key factors in flood-risk management and should be readily available to the public as well as to emergency response agencies. Mapping defines the areas at risk; maps become the common element in terms of the identification of flood-prone areas, identifying the risk for individuals and lending institutions, the preparation of emergency response plans and designs of flood-protection or flood-proofing measures.

When it comes to stifling dissent, Islamabad uses modern weaponry and technologies; but it does not bother to use supportive technologies to reduce and minimise disaster risks through forecasting droughts and floods in Pakistan’s resource-rich but impoverished province.

Many governments across the world make use of disasters as an opportunity to reach out to marginalised masses and address their grievances. But Islamabad’s confused and biased establishment exploits disaster as an opportunity to further suppress communities under the pretext of national security.

The situation in the western parts of Balochistan is appalling, with hundreds of thousands of people unable to reconstruct their mud houses. They need assistance, attention and opportunities to rebuild their homes and resume their normal economic activities. The central government must take immediate steps to seek UN assistance to plan modern housing and social infrastructure in the region.

The government also needs to expand the House Building Finance Corporation, agriculture and commercial banks’ branches and provide long-term and interest-free loans to communities to rebuild houses and small-scale businesses. All schools, hospitals and healthcare centres must be rebuilt on a priority basis.(Courtesy: Dawn)

The writer is a former senator balochbnp@gmail.com

FC Catches Acid Smugglers in Quetta

The Baloch Hal News

QUETTA, June 13: Personnel of Frontier Corps (FC) on Sunday foiled a bid of smuggling chemicals and acids, in Nushki, some 160KM on southeast of Quetta, on Sunday.

According to sources, personnel of FC on a secret information that chemicals and acids were being smuggled to Nushki from Quetta raided a truck and recovered 48 sacks of light soda and 41 containers of acid from truck during search.

FC personnel also arrested two accused persons identified as Muhammad Jan and Saifullah and later handed them over to police for further investigation.

The Underground Wealth Of Afghanistan

U.S. Identifies Vast Riches of Minerals in Afghanistan

Tyler Hicks/The New York Times

A bleak Ghazni Province seems to offer little, but a Pentagon study says it may have among the world’s largest deposits of lithium.

By JAMES RISEN

WASHINGTON — The United States has discovered nearly $1 trillion in untapped mineral deposits in Afghanistan, far beyond any previously known reserves and enough to fundamentally alter the Afghan economy and perhaps the Afghan war itself, according to senior American government officials.

The previously unknown deposits — including huge veins of iron, copper, cobalt, gold and critical industrial metals like lithium — are so big and include so many minerals that are essential to modern industry that Afghanistan could eventually be transformed into one of the most important mining centers in the world, the United States officials believe.

An internal Pentagon memo, for example, states that Afghanistan could become the “Saudi Arabia of lithium,” a key raw material in the manufacture of batteries for laptops and BlackBerrys.

The vast scale of Afghanistan’s mineral wealth was discovered by a small team of Pentagon officials and American geologists. The Afghan government and President Hamid Karzai were recently briefed, American officials said.

While it could take many years to develop a mining industry, the potential is so great that officials and executives in the industry believe it could attract heavy investment even before mines are profitable, providing the possibility of jobs that could distract from generations of war.

“There is stunning potential here,” Gen. David H. Petraeus, commander of the United States Central Command, said in an interview on Saturday. “There are a lot of ifs, of course, but I think potentially it is hugely significant.”

The value of the newly discovered mineral deposits dwarfs the size of Afghanistan’s existing war-bedraggled economy, which is based largely on opium production and narcotics trafficking as well as aid from the United States and other industrialized countries. Afghanistan’s gross domestic product is only about $12 billion.

“This will become the backbone of the Afghan economy,” said Jalil Jumriany, an adviser to the Afghan minister of mines.

American and Afghan officials agreed to discuss the mineral discoveries at a difficult moment in the war in Afghanistan. The American-led offensive in Marja in southern Afghanistan has achieved only limited gains. Meanwhile, charges of corruption and favoritism continue to plague the Karzai government, and Mr. Karzai seems increasingly embittered toward the White House.

So the Obama administration is hungry for some positive news to come out of Afghanistan. Yet the American officials also recognize that the mineral discoveries will almost certainly have a double-edged impact.

Instead of bringing peace, the newfound mineral wealth could lead the Taliban to battle even more fiercely to regain control of the country.

The corruption that is already rampant in the Karzai government could also be amplified by the new wealth, particularly if a handful of well-connected oligarchs, some with personal ties to the president, gain control of the resources. Just last year, Afghanistan’s minister of mines was accused by American officials of accepting a $30 million bribe to award China the rights to develop its copper mine. The minister has since been replaced.

Endless fights could erupt between the central government in Kabul and provincial and tribal leaders in mineral-rich districts. Afghanistan has a national mining law, written with the help of advisers from the World Bank, but it has never faced a serious challenge.

“No one has tested that law; no one knows how it will stand up in a fight between the central government and the provinces,” observed Paul A. Brinkley, deputy undersecretary of defense for business and leader of the Pentagon team that discovered the deposits.

At the same time, American officials fear resource-hungry China will try to dominate the development of Afghanistan’s mineral wealth, which could upset the United States, given its heavy investment in the region. After winning the bid for its Aynak copper mine in Logar Province, China clearly wants more, American officials said.

Another complication is that because Afghanistan has never had much heavy industry before, it has little or no history of environmental protection either. “The big question is, can this be developed in a responsible way, in a way that is environmentally and socially responsible?” Mr. Brinkley said. “No one knows how this will work.”

With virtually no mining industry or infrastructure in place today, it will take decades for Afghanistan to exploit its mineral wealth fully. “This is a country that has no mining culture,” said Jack Medlin, a geologist in the United States Geological Survey’s international affairs program. “They’ve had some small artisanal mines, but now there could be some very, very large mines that will require more than just a gold pan.”

The mineral deposits are scattered throughout the country, including in the southern and eastern regions along the border with Pakistan that have had some of the most intense combat in the American-led war against the Taliban insurgency.

  • 1
  • 2

NEXT PAGE »

Russia sends additional troops to Kyrgyzstan to assure security at Kant airbase

Russia sends additional troops to Kyrgyzstan to assure security at Kant airbase

The Russian Defense Ministry sent on Sunday an additional 150 paratroopers to enhance security at Russia‘s airbase inKyrgyzstan following deadly ethnic clashes in the country’s south, the ministry’s official spokesman said, RIA Novosti reported.

The paratroopers are to provide security to Russian soldiers serving at the Kant base, some 20 kilometers (12 miles) outside the capital, Bishkek, and their families, Alexei Kuznetsov said.

He said the troops are also ordered to reinforce security at other Russian Defense Ministry’s facilities in Kyrgyzstan.

About 100 people were killed in Kyrgyzstan as ethnic riots swept through the country’s second-largest city of Osh and another southern city of Jalalabad on Friday and Saturday.

Hundreds of people were reported injured.

Kyrgyz and ethnic Uzbek groups set ablaze cars, crushed the stores and markets as well as the residential houses. The looters have been rampaging through the streets during the days of rioting.

The Kyrgyz interim authorities asked Russia for military help to stop the rioters, but Moscow refused on Saturday.

Earlier on Sunday, a state of emergency was introduced in the entire territory of the Jalalabad region.

A round-the-clock curfew has been introduced in the city of Osh and the neighboring Kara-Suu and Aravan districts.

The interim government has allowed police and the troops to shoot to kill in order to quench the riots and stop marauders.