Skip to content

China Eyes Afghanistan’s $1 Trillion of Minerals With Risky Bet on Taliban

  • Beijing seeks to welcome Taliban into international community
  • Militants face challenge convincing U.S. to lift sanctions
Video player cover image
China Eyes $1 Trillion of Minerals With Risky Bet on Taliban
Updated on

When the U.S. invaded Afghanistan in 2001, the global economy looked a lot different: Tesla Inc. wasn’t a company, the iPhone didn’t exist and artificial intelligence was best known as a Steven Spielberg film.

Now all three are at the cutting edge of a modern economy driven by advancements in high-tech chips and large-capacity batteries that are made with a range of minerals, including rare earths. And Afghanistan is sitting on deposits estimated to be worth $1 trillion or more, including what may be the world’s largest lithium reserves -- if anyone can get them out of the ground.