More on Afghan pipelines

S Chatterjee schatterjee2001 at
Mon Sep 24 10:45:21 MDT 2001

The following article is another confirmation of the underlying economic
stakes as emphasized by Jon Flanders. An extract follows:

"....However, once the Central Asian oil reserves began to be seen as the
possible substitute for the depleting Middle Eastern wells, Western
attention in this region intensified again. American and Saudi oil firms
wanted assured access to Central Asian reserves of oil and natural gas
through Afghanistan. The Saudis and Americans thought Taliban would be the
best bet to achieve this objective. They calculated that the Afghan State
could be made economically viable from taxes that could come out of oil
pipeline projects passing through the country. The state would be merely
required to spread oil largesse among the tribes, and thus buy their
loyalties, as is the case with all Gulf countries.

The Taliban, however, overturned these plans with its ingenious methods.
In 1995, Unocal, a California based oil company, had signed a protocol
with the Turkmenistan government to explore the prospects of constructing
an oil pipeline to Pakistan through Afghan territory. The company
described the Taliban takeover of Kabul in 1996 as "positive". But the
Taliban refused to oblige the company, dashing the hopes of US corporates.

The first war of the 21st century will be as much to gain control of this
strategic region, as it is to weed out "evil". But history doesn't favour
the Americans - Afghan has remained bloody, but they have hardly lost a
war. And they have fought to failure two of the biggest powers of their
respective times - the British and the Soviets. "

Full article at:

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