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Opinion

Trump's $3tn Afghan mining mirage

New plans to tap mineral wealth face old problems of violence, instability and corruption

The U.S. has been in Afghanistan long enough that old ideas are starting to resurface as new ones. The administration of President Donald Trump is moving forward with plans to tap Afghanistan's mineral wealth, deposits of gold, iron, copper, zinc, lithium and other rare-earth metals worth an estimated $1 trillion-$3 trillion. While operational details remain unclear, Trump has discussed the idea with Afghan President Ashraf Ghani on multiple occasions, and at least one U.S. metals company is eager to participate.

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