Depending on your perspective, this might actually be a good thing…
Yes, from just one report, Afghanistan went from a place where just about nobody cares to mineral heaven. This of course means that countries in the West will undoubtedly try to take advantage of these materials. It’s what the West does, and has be…en doing it for a very long time. The most salient current example is probably the oil in Iraq, and that American companies like Haliburton are trying to make profit off of Iraq’s oil.
While it is obvious that no one likes to see their own country’s natural resources being exploited by foreigners, in the Afghans’ case, this might not be the worst idea, seeing as most parts of the county doesn’t even have roads. According to the article, companies that are eager to exploit the minerals would have to invest billions of dollars to basically build an infrastructure from scratch, everything from mines to roads (possibly railways). This could potentially mean jobs, and a way for Afghans to finally end their dependence on poppy farming.
It is certainly not the best approach to nation-building, and certainly contains an air of colonialism, but it might be the fastest way for Afghanistan to develop itself as a country.
I suspect that Secretary Gates and General Petreus would welcome this news, as recently they were being grilled on Capitol Hill by legislators who have grown impatient with the lack of progress in Afghanistan. The discovery of minerals perhaps would give the Pentagon, as well as the White House, a new cause to stay in the country.
On a side note, the article mentioned two mining / mining assessing companies situated in Canada (one in Toronto, one in Vancouver). It seems like our involvement with Afghanistan lies beyond our government policies. Perhaps it is not a bad thing.