Round-up of today's AfPak news.
Why Afghan mineral deposits won't help. Though U.S. officials say Afghanistan's deposits, valued at $1 trillion, will lift the country out of poverty, analysts doubt they will be of much benefit to Afghans anytime soon. Both the British Empire and the Soviet Union tried and failed to take advantage of Afghanistan's vast reserves of iron ore. The challenges they faced are similar to the ones NATO faces today; Afghanistan's thriving insurgency would make it nearly impossible to transport ore out of the country, and whatever profits could be made would be snapped up by notoriously corrupt Afghan officials. [Al Jazeera English]
UK drug addict on how he was recruited by the Taliban. Muslim parents in the UK with drug-addicted children often send them to madrassas in Pakistan to beat their addiction. In doing so, they are putting their children at risk. One former addict, after receiving a few weeks of methadone therapy, began receiving religious instruction and weapons training. Within 40 days of beginning treatment, he had been recruited by the Taliban and deployed to Afghanistan. Though he managed to escape and flee back to Britain, he says Taliban operatives in the UK, who target young, affluent Muslims, have tried to recruit him again. [BBC]
Pakistan denies links to Taliban. A report issued by the London School of Economics Monday claimed Pakistan's intelligence agency, the ISI, supplies the Taliban with ammunition and funds its training camps, and exerts control over militants by threatening to arrest them if they do not comply with the Pakistani government's wishes. A Pakistan army spokesman called the report "malicious," but another official, while denying the report's charges, admitted it is in Pakistan's interest to curry favor with any organization that might form the government in Afghanistan after NATO forces leave. [Washington Post]