Natural resources left in Afghanistan are 'a treasure chest for our adversaries,' veteran congressman says

“As somebody that fought in Afghanistan, left limbs in Afghanistan and, unfortunately, a lot of friends in Afghanistan, I can tell you that there’s a lot of reasons that we fought,” the Florida Republican said. “And there’s a lot of reasons that we didn’t fight.”

“One of the reasons that we didn’t fight is to leave a treasure chest for our adversaries like China and others,” he continued.

Afghanistan sits on as much as $ 3 trillion in mineral wealth, according to an article the Embassy of Afghanistan in Washington, D.C., posted in 2012. The resources include rare semi-precious gems, copper, iron, gold, uranium and lithium, which is essential for alternative energy sources.

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Republicans on the House Natural Resources Committee hosted a forum Friday to examine “the myriad geopolitical implications of Taliban control of critical minerals surveyed at U.S. taxpayer expense.”


Mast told Fox News the forum specifically focused on “the hostage crisis that went on, intelligence gaps that now exist there and what’s going to happen with the minerals and resources that are in Afghanistan.”

The minerals and resources “will be very likely mined by child slave labor” and will “be given out to countries that we absolutely consider adversaries,” he added.

Mast described some implications.

“We just saw what went on with the test by China of hypersonic weapons,” he said. “In order to make those kind of weapons that travel at extremely high speeds, high altitudes, carrying those nuclear payloads and others, it requires a number of rare earth minerals to be able to withstand those kind of temperatures.”

It was recently reported that China successfully tested two hypersonic missiles capable of carrying nuclear weapons. China denied the report, saying it was a “routine spacecraft experiment.”

“If China has the advantage of getting those because they’re buddy buddy with the Taliban, that puts the United States of America in a very bad place,” Mast continued.

Mast also highlighted the Taliban’s incentive to sell rare earth metals.

“Any extra dollar that the Taliban gets is a terrorist government having more dollars to go out there and conduct terrorism” Mast said.

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