Another real reason for the Afghanistan/Pakistan war

In what may be an early move toward a Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India natural gas pipeline, officials in Washington are putting pressure on the Pakistan central government to allow agricultural goods to pass through Pakistan on their journey from Afghanistan to India.

The official line out of Washington, via US Agriculture Sectary Tom Vilsack, is that the pipeline will create stability and wealth in Afghanistan by reopening its most important trade route.

However, once the precedent is set that allows goods to pass through Pakistan with India as their destination, the US will likely use this agreement to transition to the much more lucrative gas pipeline to India.

Yet another true reason for the occupation of Afghanistan and the destabilization of Pakistan is explained by Washington’s desire to control the region’s resources.

The pipeline is projected to cost $7.6 billion and would likely be backed by credit extended to the stakeholders in the various countries by the Export-Import Bank of the Federal US government. In fiscal year 2008 Boeing Company, Bechtel Corporation and Chevron Phillips Chemical Co. made up 75% of the Export-Import Bank’s guaranteed Loans.

Last year the Export-Import bank extended $21 billion in credit, so if that were to hold steady in 2010, TAPI pipeline alone would eat up over one-third of their annual budget. It is likely that the planners in Washington see this pipeline as one lucrative reward for grinding it out in Afghanistan for over eight years.

If the US puts up the money to build the pipeline, then they would have a majority stake in the profits brought in from the production of the TAPI pipeline, once it was completed around 2013.

There was a time in the late 90’s when all the necessary parties were on board to begin construction of the pipeline, including the Taliban. However, instability in the region scared off some of the key players and the deal fell apart.

It is likely that once construction were to begin on the pipeline the Obama administration would have to call on the US military to protect the construction process and then the survival of the pipeline until the region stabilized, and stabilization is not currently a short-term reality. Whether or not the American public will support deployment of troops to protect an investment of US big energy corporations is a question not yet answered.

This potential pipeline brings into sharp focus the value of both Afghanistan and Pakistan to both the US Federal Government and US big business. Both countries, simply because of the geographical placement, are immensely important in Washington’s global planning. They offer routes to bypass both China and Russia and open up markets with US controlled resources, supplied by US built infrastructure.

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