Director Brent E. Huffman was interviewed on CNBS regarding Trump administration's position on Afghanistan as U.S. newly measures its stake in Afghanistan's natural resources.
According to the CNBC report, the U.S. has spent upwards of $700 billion on Afghanistan's war, and the Trump administration is hoping to recoup some of that via its vast mineral wealth.
Stephen Feinberg, the billionaire financier who owns the military contractor DynCorp International, is informally advising Trump on Afghanistan, according to a report in The New York Times, which said the company may potentially play a role in safeguarding American mining operations. "We have no expectation of supporting commercial mining programs, but continue to work at the direction of the U.S. government," a DynCorp representative told CNBC.
The article introduces Saving Mes Aynak to explain the ongoing history of foreign countries, such as the U.S., Germany, and China, bargaining and claiming stakes in Afghanistan's natural resources.
On Trump administration's possible interest in mining Afghanistan's natural resources, Director Brent E. Huffman commented, "American investment could potentially be worse" to CNBC.
He added that money from the sale of the mining rights could "solely benefit a very small number of corrupt officials," a legitimate fear given Afghanistan's checkered history with what the Brookings Institution recently called "predatory crime and corruption," as evidenced by the interviews and research shown in Saving Mes Aynak.
As of now, the mining of Saving Mes Aynak is still on hold. The Taliban had temporarily shown willingness to cooperate with the mining, but now, CNBC reports, the Trump administration may find the Taliban less than willing to be a partner in stabilizing the country.
The group has urged U.S. forces to leave Afghanistan, and asked Trump not to "hand over the Afghan issue to warmongering generals" as the president weighs a new strategy. On August 15, the Taliban wrote in an open letter that Trump must "understand the realities as a responsible president of the United States, and then make decisions based upon them."
Despite the concerning report, Saving Mes Aynak team remains firm in our belief that Mes Aynak should remain a protected heritage site to be permanently preserved and studied for the advancement Afghanistan's cultural assets.