A great deal of the questions on Afghanistan’s ability to sustain itself center around military aid from abroad, but Rachel Maddow, reporting live from Afghanistan this week, went out in search of the answer to a different question today: without the economic support of the West, how will Afghanistan pay for the new democracy? A tour of local bazaars yielded plenty of lapis lazuli, emeralds, and carpets, but little in the way of concrete economic resources.
Maddow speaks to a soldier that tells her Afghanistan “doesn’t have oil,” but has a vast potential for cultivating mineral resources. The local markets show some of that, selling plenty of lapis, turquoise, emeralds, and rubies, but, unfortunately, not enough to sustain the entire country, and not very much of the precious lithium estimated to exist in the mountains.
Maddow passed by a gift shop and a gem store, but wasn’t excited by most of the products until she came to a carpet shop, where a merchant was selling carpets with illustrations of weaponry. She bought one to bring home. “My mom’s going to be really excited,” she notes, before having the obvious pointed out to her: “I think she’s going to be a little disappointed… we just saw all the stones and you buy a $20 carpet with a gun on it.”
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