Afghan Mineral Deposits Could Unearth Corruption After a survey showed Afghanistan could be sitting on $1 trillion worth of minerals, competing visions have emerged for the nation's future. Evan Feigenbaum, director of Eurasia Group's Asia practice group and an adjunct senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations, tells Renee Montagne that avoiding corruption will be a big challenge.
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Afghan Mineral Deposits Could Unearth Corruption

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Afghan Mineral Deposits Could Unearth Corruption

Afghan Mineral Deposits Could Unearth Corruption

Afghan Mineral Deposits Could Unearth Corruption

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After a survey showed Afghanistan could be sitting on $1 trillion worth of minerals, competing visions have emerged for the nation's future. Evan Feigenbaum, director of Eurasia Group's Asia practice group and an adjunct senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations, tells Renee Montagne that avoiding corruption will be a big challenge.

RENEE MONTAGNE, Host:

To find out more, we called Evan Feigenbaum. He's with the Council on Foreign Relations and also the Eurasia Group, which tracks political risks.

EVAN FEIGENBAUM: There were a lot of allegations of corruption associated with the offering of that license. And so that could be very debilitating over time, as Afghanistan looks to international partners and as international companies from around the world look at the possibility of operating in that kind of an environment. It's a real deterrent.

MONTAGNE: Less so, though, as you suggested, for China.

FEIGENBAUM: And then the third interest that they have is their own economic development, and they've gone all over the world, not just to Afghanistan, in search of resources that would help to fuel their economic growth. But I think, you know, the Afghans over the long term are looking for a diverse set of partners in the country. That's one reason, for instance, why they've been on a road show talking about their mineral potential. There was an Afghan minister that was in New Delhi trying to attract Indian companies to bid on some of this mineral potential over time.

MONTAGNE: Well, here's a last thought that might well strike any American hearing this or any member of the EU involved in the war and the reconstruction in Afghanistan, and that would be years of fighting and pouring billions of dollars into aid into Afghanistan, and now China and possibly India are looking to reap the rewards of Afghanistan's mineral resources.

FEIGENBAUM: And finally, that many of the competitors to American companies don't come from countries that have a Foreign Corrupt Practices Act. Unfortunately, other countries and companies from other countries have been able to spread money around.

MONTAGNE: Evan Feigenbaum is the head of the Asia Practice at the Eurasia Group, which tracks political risk.

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