Chinese Company’s Contract to Mine Afghanistan’s Rich Copper Deposits Criticized as a Bad Deal

A Chinese mining deal in Afghanistan illuminates the complexities facing President Obama as he determines America’s course in the country. AP reports:

At a former al-Qaida stronghold southeast of the Afghan capital, a state-owned Chinese company is at work on a $3 billion mine project to tap one of the world’s largest unexploited copper reserves, a potential financial boon for an impoverished country mired in war.

The promise of a bright future at Aynak, however, cannot conceal the troubling reality of how business is often done in Afghanistan, according to critics of the Kabul government’s decision to reject bids from competitors in the U.S., Canada and other countries.

The bidding process unfairly favored China, they allege, and epitomized the back-room deals and abuse of power that has turned Afghans against their government and undercut the U.S. military effort there.

November 1, 2009 10:58 PM
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