China seeks to extend critical minerals monopoly with help of Taliban

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One of the first nations to move to recognize the Taliban’s legitimacy amid its takeover of Afghanistan was communist China. For those that pay attention to geopolitics, this didn’t come as much of a surprise. Yet, beyond mere realpolitik and great-power posturing, another tangible, even materialistic, reason has become clear: Afghanistan’s abundance of critical minerals.

Despite being a poor nation, Afghanistan has nearly $1 trillion worth of untapped mineral deposits, many of which are rare earth minerals such as cobalt, nickel and copper. Used in everything from cellphones and laptops to medical and military equipment, these critical minerals are the building block of a modern, technologically advanced society. Afghanistan is thought to have the largest lithium deposit in the world, which is a key component of modern forms of energy storage, such as batteries for electric vehicles and renewable energy.

As the world transitions from fossil fuels…

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