And You Thought It Was About Terrorism.

Did you hear the latest? In a New York Times story James Risen writes about an “interesting” find that apparently shocked Pentagon officials. I mean, who woulda thunk it. We go in to ferret out al Qaeda and Taliban bad guys and lo and behold, there’s a mother lode of minerals. Imagine that.

The United States has discovered nearly $1 trillion in untapped mineral deposits in Afghanistan, far beyond any previously known reserves and enough to fundamentally alter the Afghan economy and perhaps the Afghan war itself, according to senior American government officials.

The previously unknown deposits — including huge veins of iron, copper, cobalt, gold and critical industrial metals like lithium — are so big and include so many minerals that are essential to modern industry that Afghanistan could eventually be transformed into one of the most important mining centers in the world, the United States officials believe.

An internal Pentagon memo, for example, states that Afghanistan could become the “Saudi Arabia of lithium,” a key raw material in the manufacture of batteries for laptops and BlackBerrys.

The vast scale of Afghanistan’s mineral wealth was discovered by a small team of Pentagon officials and American geologists. The Afghan government and President Hamid Karzai were recently briefed, American officials said.

While it could take many years to develop a mining industry, the potential is so great that officials and executives in the industry believe it could attract heavy investment even before mines are profitable, providing the possibility of jobs that could distract from generations of war.

Will wonders never cease. And the coincidence of having two hot beds of terror, Iraq and Afghanistan, being oil and mineral rich — amazing. Simply amazing.

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