The final phase of the anti-terrorist operation in Afghanistan, the goal of which was the elimination of al-Qaeda and Taliban groups, is over. Bin Laden and Mullah Omar are hiding somewhere in the mountains, but these are the details. The provisional government of Afghanistan has been formed and is now up and running. The peacekeepers from the temporary UN contingent are arriving in Kabul daily. Afghanistan has a peaceful life now, almost peaceful. However, there is an issue now about the interest of the Western countries in Afghanistan, American interests in particular.
We are not going to dwell on the geopolitical interests here; we’d better talk about the financial and economic interests of the powers-that-be from Wall Street. To be more precise, oil. It is an open secret to what extent the global economy, the Russian economy in particular, depends on the fluctuations of the oil prices.
So, on January 3, 2002, George Bush appointed Zalmay Khalilzad to the position of the special aide in Afghanistan. This person earlier worked for the American oil company Unocal. It was emphasized in the comments about the new appointment that the real economic and financial interests of the United States in the Central Asia were under a threat. The aide’s objective is gaining direct access to the petroleum and gas resources in the region. There are few gas or oil deposits in Afghanistan, but they are very expensive to developt due to the mountains. However, there is oil and gas in the republic of Turkmenistan.
The idea about the construction of a gas pipeline from Turkmenistan via Afghanistan and Pakistan to the Indian ocean appeared in 1997. The special aide participated in the negotiations between the oil company Unocal and representatives of the Taliban movement on the subject. The cost of the project was two billion dollars. There was also another variant considered, the extension of the pipeline to India. This would cost $600 million more.
This very special aide also lobbied the interests of the Taliban in the American government. Four years ago, the Washington Post published an article in which Zalmay Khalilzad defended the Taliban regime when the Taliban were charged of funding terrorist activities. It should be mentioned in this respect that this was in 1997, and a lot of those powers-that-be who supported the Taliban movement at that time are now doing their best to forget about it as if it was a bad dream. The transaction did not take place at that time, since the Talibs were stubborn, and the internal situation in Afghanistan was not stable. Now, it is totally different.
The construction of the mentioned pipeline is a serious blow for Russia in terms of its economic and geopolitical interests in the region.
Dmitry Litvinovich PRAVDA.Ru
Translated by Dmitry Sudakov
On the photo: Zalmay Khalilzad