(FreedomBeacon.com)- According to the Afghan news agency Khaama Press, militants from the Taliban seized five persons on suspicion of trying to smuggle lithium over the border into China, including two Chinese nationals and three Afghans. The event took place on Afghanistan’s eastern border with China, in Jalalabad.
A crucial element in efforts to “transition” the globe away from the extensive use of fossil fuels and toward a “green” economy is lithium, a metal that is used to make batteries for electric vehicles and other types of batteries. China is the leading manufacturer of lithium-ion batteries in the world, and Australia, Chile, and China together produce around 90% of the world’s lithium.
Afghanistan is thought to have some of the world’s greatest lithium deposits, even though it isn’t a prominent participant in the market right now. Afghanistan also has abundant amounts of other rare-earth minerals, fossil fuels, and other kinds of natural resources. Since assuming power in August 2021 as a consequence of President Joe Biden breaching a deal with the organization to remove its forces from the nation by May of that year, the Taliban has shown a strong interest in utilizing such resources.
Numerous accounts of the event from various media sources do not name the suspects or mention any probable involvement of the Chinese Communist Party in the arrests or the smuggling. According to one story, the guys were detained while in possession of 1,000 metric tons of lithium-containing rocks.
With the goal of constructing industries and exploring for valuable natural resources, Taliban militants have explored lucrative partnerships with the Chinese government. Leaders of the Taliban have also shown interest in China’s exploitative Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), which provides predatory loans to developing nations in return for the construction of cumbersome infrastructure projects.
Numerous surveys and analyses throughout the years have estimated that Afghanistan’s rare-earth mineral deposits are worth up to $1 trillion. Experts think Afghanistan may benefit from its large iron, copper, and gemstone resources in addition to one of the most coveted minerals, lithium.
As a consequence, it has attracted smuggling and illicit mining for decades. No significant mining agreements between China and Taliban militants have been made public to yet.