Fwd: [CSL]: Afghanistan and the real stakes...no need for a conspiracy theory at all.
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From: John Armitage <john.armitage at UNN.AC.UK>
Subject: [CSL]: Afghanistan and the real stakes...no need for a conspiracy
theory at all.
To: CYBER-SOCIETY-LIVE at JISCMAIL.AC.UK
-----Original Message-----From: Jeanie Dean
An article from London Daily Mirror.
Life in mind
Sent: Tuesday, December 11, 2001 5:15 AM
Subject: Fw: Afghanistan and the real stakes...no need for a conspiracy
theory at all.
----- Forwarded Message -----
Here are some articles for you to chew on. The thing is that designs on
Afghanistan were in the offing way before September 11: there is no
need for a conspiracy when there is none. The desire to get back at
the people who bombed the World Trade Centre's Twin Towers can co-exist
with big oil's interest in the region.
The Daily Mirror of London:
Mirror.co.uk Friday, December 7, 2001
PILGER: THIS WAR IS A FRAUD
By John Pilger, Former Mirror chief foreign correspondent
The war against terrorism is a fraud. After three weeks' bombing, not a
single terrorist implicated in the attacks on America has been caught or
killed in Afghanistan.
Instead, one of the poorest, most stricken nations has been terrorised
by the most powerful - to the point where American pilots have run out
of dubious "military" targets and are now destroying mud houses, a
hospital, Red Cross warehouses, lorries carrying refugees.
Unlike the relentless pictures from New York, we are seeing almost
nothing of this. Tony Blair has yet to tell us what the violent death of
children - seven in one family - has to do with Osama bin Laden.
And why are cluster bombs being used? The British public should know
about these bombs, which the RAF also uses. They spray hundreds of
bomblets that have only one purpose; to kill and maim people. Those that
do not explode lie on the ground like landmines, waiting for people to
step on them.
If ever a weapon was designed specifically for acts of terrorism, this
is it. I have seen the victims of American cluster weapons in other
countries, such as the Laotian toddler who picked one up and had her
right leg and face blown off. Be assured this is now happening in
Afghanistan, in your name.
None of those directly involved in the September 11 atrocity was
Afghani. Most were Saudis, who apparently did their planning and
training in Germany and the United States.
The camps which the Taliban allowed bin Laden to use were emptied weeks
ago. Moreover, the Taliban itself is a creation of the Americans and the
British. In the 1980s, the tribal army that produced them was funded by
the CIA and trained by the SAS to fight the Russians.
The hypocrisy does not stop there. When the Taliban took Kabul in 1996,
Washington said nothing. Why? Because Taliban leaders were soon on their
way to Houston, Texas, to be entertained by executives of the oil
With secret US government approval, the company offered them a generous
cut of the profits of the oil and gas pumped through a pipeline that the
Americans wanted to build from Soviet central Asia through Afghanistan.
A US diplomat said: "The Taliban will probably develop like the Saudis
did." He explained that Afghanistan would become an American oil colony,
there would be huge profits for the West, no democracy and the legal
persecution of women. "We can live with that," he said.
Although the deal fell through, it remains an urgent priority of the
administration of George W. Bush, which is steeped in the oil industry.
Bush's concealed agenda is to exploit the oil and gas reserves in the
Caspian basin, the greatest source of untapped fossil fuel on earth and
enough, according to one estimate, to meet America's voracious energy
needs for a generation. Only if the pipeline runs through Afghanistan
can the Americans hope to control it.
So, not surprisingly, US Secretary of State Colin Powell is now
referring to "moderate" Taliban, who will join an American-sponsored
"loose federation" to run Afghanistan. The "war on terrorism" is a cover
for this: a means of achieving American strategic aims that lie behind
the flag-waving facade of great power.
The Royal Marines, who will do the real dirty work, will be little more
than mercenaries for Washington's imperial ambitions, not to mention the
extraordinary pretensions of Blair himself. Having made Britain a target
for terrorism with his bellicose "shoulder to shoulder" with Bush
nonsense, he is now prepared to send troops to a battlefield where the
goals are so uncertain that even the Chief of the Defence Staff says the
conflict "could last 50 years".
The irresponsibility of this is breathtaking; the pressure on Pakistan
alone could ignite an unprecedented crisis across the Indian
sub-continent. Having reported many wars, I am always struck by the
absurdity of effete politicians eager to wave farewell to young
soldiers, but who themselves would not say boo to a Taliban goose.
In the days of gunboats, our imperial leaders covered their violence in
the "morality" of their actions. Blair is no different. Like them, his
selective moralising omits the most basic truth. Nothing justified the
killing of innocent people in America on September 11, and nothing
justifies the killing of innocent people anywhere else.
By killing innocents in Afghanistan, Blair and Bush stoop to the level
of the criminal outrage in New York. Once you cluster bomb, "mistakes"
and "blunders" are a pretence. Murder is murder, regardless of whether
you crash a plane into a building or order and collude with it from the
Oval Office and Downing Street.
GRIEF: A father weeps over his dead son after the bombs blunder in Kabul
If Blair was really opposed to all forms of terrorism, he would get
Britain out of the arms trade. On the day of the twin towers attack, an
"arms fair", selling weapons of terror (like cluster bombs and missiles)
to assorted tyrants and human rights abusers, opened in London's
Docklands with the full backing of the Blair government.
Britain's biggest arms customer is the medieval Saudi regime, which
beheads heretics and spawned the religious fanaticism of the Taliban.
If he really wanted to demonstrate "the moral fibre of Britain", Blair
would do everything in his power to lift the threat of violence in those
parts of the world where there is great and justifiable grievance and
He would do more than make gestures; he would demand that Israel ends
its illegal occupation of Palestine and withdraw to its borders prior to
the 1967 war, as ordered by the Security Council, of which Britain is a
He would call for an end to the genocidal blockade which the UN - in
reality, America and Britain - has imposed on the suffering people of
Iraq for more than a decade, causing the deaths of half a million
children under the age of five.
That's more deaths of infants every month than the number killed in the
World Trade Center.
There are signs that Washington is about to extend its current "war" to
Iraq; yet unknown to most of us, almost every day RAF and American
aircraft already bomb Iraq. There are no headlines. There is nothing on
the TV news. This terror is the longest-running Anglo-American bombing
campaign since World War Two.
The Wall Street Journal reported that the US and Britain faced a
"dilemma" in Iraq, because "few targets remain". "We're down to the last
outhouse," said a US official. That was two years ago, and they're still
bombing. The cost to the British taxpayer? £800 million so far.
According to an internal UN report, covering a five-month period, 41 per
cent of the casualties are civilians. In northern Iraq, I met a woman
whose husband and four children were among the deaths listed in the
report. He was a shepherd, who was tending his sheep with his elderly
father and his children when two planes attacked them, each making a
sweep. It was an open valley; there were no military targets nearby.
"I want to see the pilot who did this," said the widow at the graveside
of her entire family. For them, there was no service in St Paul's
Cathedral with the Queen in attendance; no rock concert with Paul
The tragedy of the Iraqis, and the Palestinians, and the Afghanis is a
truth that is the very opposite of their caricatures in much of the
Far from being the terrorists of the world, the overwhelming majority of
the Islamic peoples of the Middle East and south Asia have been its
victims - victims largely of the West's exploitation of precious natural
resources in or near their countries.
There is no war on terrorism. If there was, the Royal Marines and the
SAS would be storming the beaches of Florida, where more CIA-funded
terrorists, ex-Latin American dictators and torturers, are given refuge
than anywhere on earth.
There is, however, a continuing war of the powerful against the
powerless, with new excuses, new hidden agendas, new lies. Before
another child dies violently, or quietly from starvation, before new
fanatics are created in both the east and the west, it is time for the
people of Britain to make their voices heard and to stop this fraudulent
war - and to demand the kind of bold, imaginative non-violent
initiatives that require real political courage.
The other day, the parents of Greg Rodriguez, a young man who died in
the World Trade Center, said this: "We read enough of the news to sense
that our government is heading in the direction of violent revenge, with
the prospect of sons, daughters, parents, friends in distant lands
dying, suffering, and nursing further grievances against us.
"It is not the way to go...not in our son's name."
Agence France Presse
Sunday October 7, 8:18 PM
US gave silent blessing to Taliban rise to power: analysts
WASHINGTON, Oct 7 (AFP) -
Afghanistan's Taliban regime, now bracing for punitive US military
strikes, was brought to power with Washington's silent blessing as it
dallied in an abortive new "Great Game" in central Asia.
Keen to see Afghanistan under strong central rule to allow a US-led
group to build a multi-billion-dollar oil and gas pipeline, Washington
urged key allies Pakistan and Saudi Arabia to back the militia's bid for
power in 1996, analysts said.
But it was soon forced to abandon its brief and shadowy flirtation with
the Islamic purists, who US officials now say are unfit to rule, as the
militia began imposing its brutal version of Islamic law, sparking a
violent outcry from US women's groups.
While the United States has denied supporting the Taliban's rise,
experts say that at the time they seized the capital five years ago,
Washington saw the militia as a strange but potentially stabilizing
"Now, years on, the US has to cope with the damage for which it is
partially responsible starting with its role during and after the Soviet
occupation of Afghanistan," said Radha Kumar of the Council on Foreign
Relations in New York.
Ahmed Rashid, a leading author and expert on Afghan affairs, said it was
"clear" Washington, which armed and trained the Afghan mujahedin during
their battle against Soviet invaders in the 1980s, indirectly supported
"The United States encouraged Saudi Arabia and Pakistan to support the
Taliban, certainly right up to their advance on Kabul" on September 26,
1996, he said from his base in Lahore, Pakistan. "That seems very ironic
One key reason for US interest in the Taliban was a 4.5-billion-dollar
oil and gas pipeline that a US-led oil consortium planned to build
across war-ravaged Afghanistan.
The California-based Unocal Corp. in 1996 hatched plans to stretch the
pipeline from the central Asian state of Turkmenistan to Pakistan and
the United States and the oil consortium wanted most of Afghanistan to
be under the stable control of one government to ensure the pipeline's
security, the analysts said.
In the months before the Taliban took power, former US assistant
secretary of state for South Asia Robin Raphel waged an intense round of
shuttle diplomacy between the powers with possible stakes in the
"Robin Raphel was the face of the Unocal pipeline," said an official of
the former Afghan government who was present at some of the meetings
The Unocal consortium also included Saudi-based Delta Oil, Pakistan's
Crescent Group and Gazprom of Russia.
The project was to start with a two-billion-dollar, 890-kilometer
(556-mile) gas pipeline that would channel 1.9 billion cubic feet of gas
to Pakistan each day.
In addition to tapping new sources of energy, the move also suited a
major US strategic aim in the region: isolating its nemesis Iran and
stifling a frequently-mooted rival pipeline project backed by Tehran,
"This was part of what I call a new great game between Russia, the
United States, China, Iran and European companies for control of the new
oil and gas resources that have been discovered," Rashid said. A
dangerous game for influence in Afghanistan was played in the 19th
century by Britain and Russia, at a strategic crossroads between South
Asia and Czarist Russia.
The Unocal consortium feared there could be no pipeline as long as
Afghanistan, battered by war since the Soviet withdrawal in 1989, was
split among rival warlords. The Taliban, whose rise to power owed much
to their bid to stamp out the drugs trade and install law and order,
seemed attractive to Washington.
"It thought the Taliban might be a stabilizing factor if they controlled
90 percent of the country," said the CFR's Kumar.
When the Taliban rolled into Kabul, Washington appeared initially
enthusiastic amid signs it would consider recognising the new regime.
The top US diplomat in Pakistan planned a visit to Kabul just days after
it was captured by the Taliban and a State Department official expressed
hope that the Taliban would "move quickly to restore order and
But Washington cancelled the diplomat's trip as protests against the
Taliban's treatment of women erupted in the United States, news reports
said at the time. Unocal withdrew from the pipeline consortium two years
Department of Energy Fact Sheet.
<http://www.eia.doe.gov/> <http://www.eia.doe.gov/> Energy Information
The information contained in this report is the best available as of
September 2001 and can change.
Afghanistan's significance from an energy standpoint stems from its
geographical position as a potential transit route for oil and natural
gas exports from Central Asia to the Arabian Sea. This potential
includes the possible construction of oil and natural gas export
pipelines through Afghanistan, which was under serious consideration in
the mid-1990s. The idea has since been undermined by Afghanistan's
instability. Since 1996, most of Afghanistan has been controlled by the
Taliban movement, which the United States does not recognize as the
government of Afghanistan.
On December 19, 2000, the UN Security Council imposed additional
sanctions against Afghanistan's ruling Taliban movement (which controls
around 95% of the country), including an arms embargo and a ban on the
sale of chemicals used in making heroin. These sanctions (Resolution
1333) are aimed at pressuring Afghanistan to turn over Osama bin Laden,
suspected in various terrorist attacks, including the August 1998 US
Embassy bombings in Kenya and Tanzania. These latest sanctions are in
addition to sanctions (Resolution 1267) imposed on Afghanistan in
November 1999, which included a freeze on Taliban assets and a ban on
international flights by Afghanistan's national airline, Ariana. The
Taliban reacted sharply to the new sanctions, ordering a boycott of US
and Russian goods, and pulling out of UN-mediated peace talks aimed at
ending the country's civil war.
On November 29, 1999, UN Secretary General Kofi Annan issued a report on
Afghanistan which listed the country's major problems as follows: civil
war (which has caused many casualties and refugees, and which has
devastated the country's economy), record opium production, wide-scale
human rights violations, and food shortages caused in part by drought.
According to the 2001
<http://www.odci.gov/cia/publications/factbook/geos/af.html> CIA World
Factbook, Afghanistan is an extremely poor, landlocked country, highly
dependent on farming and livestock raising. Afghanistan has experienced
over two decades of war, including the nearly 10-year Soviet military
occupation (which ended in 1989). During that conflict one-third of the
population fled the country, with Pakistan and Iran sheltering a
combined peak of more than 6 million refugees. Large Afghan refugee
populations remain in Pakistan and Iran. Gross domestic product has
fallen substantially over the past 20 years because of the loss of labor
and capital and the disruption of trade and transport. The severe
drought of 1998-2000 added to these problems. The majority of the
population continues to suffer from insufficient food, clothing,
housing, and medical care. Inflation remains a serious problem
throughout the country. International aid can deal with only a fraction
of the humanitarian problem, let alone promote economic development. The
economic situation did not improve in 1999-2000, as internal civil
strife has continued, hampering both domestic economic policies and
international aid efforts. Numerical data are likely to be either
unavailable or unreliable. Afghanistan was by far the largest world
producer of opium poppies in 2000, and narcotics trafficking is a major
source of revenues.
The Soviets had estimated Afghanistan's proven and probable natural gas
reserves at up to 5 trillion cubic feet (Tcf) in the 1970s. Afghan
natural gas production reached 275 million cubic feet per day (Mmcf/d)
in the mid-1970s. However, due to declining reserves from producing
fields, output gradually fell to about 220 Mmcf/d by 1980. At that time,
the Jorquduq field was brought online and was expected to boost Afghan
natural gas output to 385 Mmcf/d by the early 1980s. However, sabotage
of infrastructure by the anti-Soviet mujaheddin fighters limited the
country's total production to 290 Mmcf/d, an output level that was held
fairly steady until the Soviet withdrawal in 1989. After the Soviet
pullout and subsequent Afghan civil war, roughly 31 producing wells at
Sheberghan area fields were shut in pending the restart of natural gas
sales to the former Soviet Union.
At its peak in the late 1970s, Afghanistan supplied 70%-90% of its
natural gas output to the Soviet Union's natural gas grid via a link
through Uzbekistan. In 1992, Afghan President Najibullah indicated that
a new natural gas sales agreement with Russia was in progress. However,
several former Soviet republics raised price and distribution issues and
negotiations stalled. In the early 1990s, Afghanistan also discussed
possible natural gas supply arrangements with Hungary, Czechoslovakia,
and several Western European countries, but these talks never progressed
further. Afghan natural gas fields include Jorqaduq, Khowaja Gogerdak,
and Yatimtaq, all of which are located within 20 miles of the northern
town of Sheberghan in Jowzjan province. Natural gas production and
distribution is the responsibility of the Taliban-controlled Afghan Gas
Enterprise. In 1999, work resumed on the repair of a distribution
pipeline to Mazar-i-Sharif. Spur pipelines to a small power plant and
fertilizer plant also were repaired and completed. Mazar-i-Sharif is
now receiving natural gas from the pipeline, as well as some other
surrounding areas. Rehabilitation of damaged natural gas wells has been
undertaken at the Khowaja Gogerak field, which has increased natural gas
In February 1998, the Taliban announced plans to revive the Afghan
National Oil Company, which was abolished by the Soviet Union after it
invaded Afghanistan in 1979. Soviet estimates from the late 1970s
placed Afghanistan's proven and probable oil and condensate reserves at
95 million barrels. Oil exploration and development work as well as
plans to build a 10,000-bbl/d refinery were halted after the 1979 Soviet
invasion. A very small amount of crude oil is produced at the Angot
field in the northern Sar-i-Pol province. It is processed at a
primitive topping plant in Sheberghan, and burned in central heating
boilers in Sheberghan, Mazar-i-Sharif, and Kabul. Another small
oilfield at Zomrad Sai near Sheberghan was reportedly undergoing repairs
Petroleum products such as diesel, gasoline, and jet fuel are imported,
mainly from Pakistan and Turkmenistan. A small storage and distribution
facility exists in Jalalabad on the highway between Kabul and Peshawar,
Pakistan. Turkmenistan also has a petroleum product storage and
distribution facility at Tagtabazar near the Afghan border, which
supplies northwestern Afghanistan.
Besides oil and natural gas, Afghanistan also is estimated to have 73
million tons of coal reserves, most of which is located in the region
between Herat and Badashkan in the northern part of the country.
Although Afghanistan produced over 100,000 short tons of coal annually
as late as the early 1990s, as of 1999, the country was producing only
around 1,000 short tons.
Afghanistan's power grid has been severely damaged by years of war.
Currently, the ruling Taliban are concentrating on rebuilding damaged
hydroelectric plants, power distribution lines, and high-voltage cables.
Production of power by Afghanistan's hydroelectric dams was negatively
affected by the drought of 1998-2000, resulting in blackouts in Kabul
and other cities. Increased rainfall in 2001 has improved power
production. The Kajaki Dam in Helmand province near Kandahar is
undergoing the addition of another generating turbine with assistance
from the Chinese Dongfeng Agricultural Machinery Company. This will add
16.5 megawatts (MW) to its generating capacity when completed.
Transmission lines from the Kajaki Dam to Kandahar were repaired in
early 2001, along with a substation in the city, restoring supplies of
electricity. The Dahla Dam in Kandahar province also has been restored
to operation, along with the Breshna-Kot Dam in Nangarhar province,
which has a generating capacity of 11.5 MW. The 66-MW Mahipar hydro
plant also is now operational.
Turkmenistan supplies electricity to much of northwestern Afghanistan.
In October 1999, Afghanistan announced that it had reached agreement
with Turkmenistan for electricity imports into northwestern Afghanistan,
including power to the city of Herat and the Herat cement plant.
Another transmission line has been built from Turkmenistan to the city
of Andkhoy, and one was under construction in 2001 to Sheberghan.
Electricity has previously been imported from Uzbekistan for
Mazar-i-Sharif, but supplies were cut off during the winter of 1999 due
to payment arrears.
Regional Pipeline Plans
In January 1998, an agreement was signed between Pakistan, Turkmenistan,
and the Taliban to arrange funding on a proposed 890-mile, $2-billion,
1.9-billion-cubic-feet-per-day natural gas pipeline project. The
proposed pipeline would have transported natural gas from Turkmenistan's
45-Tcf Dauletabad natural gas field to Pakistan, and most likely would
have run from Dauletabad south to the Afghan border and through Herat
and Qandahar in Afghanistan, to Quetta, Pakistan. The line would then
have linked with Pakistan's natural gas grid at Sui. Natural gas
shipments had been projected to start at 700 Mmcf/d in 1999 and to rise
to 1.4 Bcf/d or higher by 2002. In March 1998, however, Unocal announced
a delay in finalizing project details due to Afghanistan's continuing
civil war. In June 1998, Gazprom announced that it was relinquishing its
10% stake in the gas pipeline project consortium (known as the Central
Asian Gas Pipeline Ltd., or Centgas), which was formed in August 1996.
As of June 1998, Unocal and Saudi Arabia's Delta Oil held a combined 85%
stake in Centgas, while Turkmenrusgas owned 5%. Other participants in
the proposed project besides Delta Oil included the Crescent Group of
Pakistan, Gazprom of Russia, Hyundai Engineering & Construction Company
of South Korea, Inpex and Itochu of Japan
On December 8, 1998, Unocal announced that it was withdrawing from the
Centgas consortium, citing low oil prices and turmoil in Afghanistan as
making the pipeline project uneconomical and too risky. Unocal's
announcement followed an earlier statement -- in August 1998 -- that the
company was suspending its role in the Afghanistan gas pipeline project
in light of U.S. government military action in Afghanistan, and also due
to intensified fighting between the Taliban and opposition groups.
Unocal had previously stressed that the Centgas pipeline project would
not proceed until an internationally recognized government was in place
in Afghanistan. To date, however, only three countries -- Saudi Arabia,
Pakistan and the United Arab Emirates -- have recognized the Taliban
government (note: in late September 2001, Saudi Arabia and the United
Arab Emirates both cut ties with the Taliban).
Besides the gas pipeline, Unocal also had considered building a
1,000-mile, 1-million barrel-per-day (bbl/d) capacity oil pipeline that
would link Chardzou, Turkmenistan to Pakistan's Arabian Sea Coast via
Afghanistan. Since the Chardzou refinery is already linked to Russia's
Western Siberian oil fields, this line could provide a possible
alternative export route for regional oil production from the Caspian
Sea. The $2.5-billion pipeline is known as the Central Asian Oil
Pipeline Project. For a variety of reasons (i.e. war and political
instability), however, this project remains highly doubtful for the time
In April 1999, Pakistan, Turkmenistan and the Taliban authorities in
Afghanistan agreed to reactivate the Turkmenistan-Pakistan gas pipeline
project, and to ask the Centgas consortium, now led by Saudi Arabia's
Delta Oil (following Unocal's withdrawal from the project), to proceed.
Periodic meetings to discuss the project have continued. It remains
unlikely, however, that this pipeline will be built.
Energy Infrastructure at a Glance
Produces a small quantity of crude oil; located in Sar-i-Pol province
Zomrad Sai Oilfield
Reportedly undergoing rehabilitation; near Sheberghan
Sheberghan Topping Plant
Primitive topping plant which processes crude oil for consumption in
heating boilers in Kabul, Mazar-i-Sharif, and Sheberghan
Jalalabad Storage Facility
Petroleum product storage and distribution facility
Sheberghan Area Gas Fields
The Jorqaduk, Khowaja Gogerak, and Yatimtaq gas fields are all located
within 20 miles of Sheberghan
Pipeline to Mazar-i-Sharif
A pipeline connects these gas fields to Mazar-i-Sharif.Gas is used for a
small power plant, a fertilizer plant, and domestic use.
Small local pipelines near the gas fields distribute gas in small
quantities to nearby villages and Sheberghan
Located in Helmand province near Kandahar; undergoing upgrade which will
add a third generating turbine and increase its installed capacity by
16.5 MW (from its current 33 MW capacity); transmission lines to
Kandahar repaired in early 2001.
Installed capacity of 66 MW.Repaired and operational.
Installed capacity of 11.5 MW.Repaired and operational.In Nangarhar
province near Jalalabad.
Reportedly undergoing repairs.
Kandahar province.Repaired and operational.
Mazar-i-Sharif Power Plant
Small gas-fired power plant near Mazar-i-Sharif, with an installed
capacity of 35 MW.
Transmission Lines from Turkmenistan
Transmission lines from Turkmenistan supply power to several cities in
northwestern Afghanistan, including Herat, and Andkhoy.A line was under
construction in early 2001 to Sheberghan.
Note: This listing of Afghanistan's energy infrastructure was compiled
from information available in press and media sources, and should not
necessarily be considered comprehensive. Only facilities which have
been reported to be functional or under repair have been included.
U.S. Geological Survey - Map of Afghanistan's Natural Resources
Sources for this report include: BBC Monitoring South Asia; BBC Summary
of World Broadcasts; Dow Jones; Economist Intelligence Unit Viewswire;
Financial Times Asia Intelligence Wire; Foreign Broadcast Information
For more information from EIA on Afghanistan, please see:
EIA - <http://www.eia.doe.gov/emeu/international/afghan.html> Country
Information on Afghanistan
Links to other U.S. government sites:
2001 <http://www.odci.gov/cia/publications/factbook/geos/af.html> CIA
World Factbook - Afghanistan
U.S. State <http://travel.state.gov/afghanistan_warning.html>
Department Travel Warning on Afghanistan
U.S. State <http://travel.state.gov/afghanistan.html> Department
Consular Information Sheet -- Afghanistan
Geological Survey - Afghanistan Natural Resources Map
The following links are provided solely as a service to our customers,
and therefore should not be construed as advocating or reflecting any
position of the Energy Information Administration (EIA) or the United
States Government. In addition, EIA does not guarantee the content or
accuracy of any information presented in linked sites.
The Islamic State <http://www.stm.it/politic/afghanistan.htm> of
Afghanistan Online <http://www.afghan-web.com/>
ghanis.htm> Post: World Reference -- Afghanistan
University <http://menic.utexas.edu/menic/countries/afghan.html> of
Texas at Austin: Afghanistan Information
Afghanistan - <http://www.afghana.com/Map/MapRoadsAirports.htm> Roads
and Airports Map
0664300?Opendocument> - Map of Afghanistan's Provinces
Afghanistan <http://frankenstein.worldweb.net/afghan/> Today
Afghan <http://www.afghan-network.net/> Network
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Testimony of John Maresca, Vice Pres. Unocal:
JOHN J. MARESCA
VICE PRESIDENT, INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS
HOUSE COMMITTEE ON INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS
SUBCOMMITTEE ON ASIA AND THE PACIFIC
FEBRUARY 12, 1998
Mr. Chairman, I am John Maresca, Vice President, International
Relations, of Unocal Corporation. Unocal is one of the world's leading
energy resource and project development companies. Our activities are
focused on three major regions -- Asia, Latin America and the U.S. Gulf
of Mexico. In Asia and the U.S. Gulf of Mexico, we are a major oil and
gas producer. I appreciate your invitation to speak here today. I
believe these hearings are important and timely, and I congratulate you
for focusing on Central Asia oil and gas reserves and the role they play
in shaping U.S. policy.
Today we would like to focus on three issues concerning this region, its
resources and U.S. policy:
The need for multiple pipeline routes for Central Asian oil and gas.
The need for U.S. support for international and regional efforts to
achieve balanced and lasting political settlements within Russia, other
newly independent states and in Afghanistan.
The need for structured assistance to encourage economic reforms and the
development of appropriate investment climates in the region. In this
regard, we specifically support repeal or removal of Section 907 of the
Freedom Support Act.
For more than 2,000 years, Central Asia has been a meeting ground
between Europe and Asia, the site of ancient east-west trade routes
collectively called the Silk Road and, at various points in history, a
cradle of scholarship, culture and power. It is also a region of truly
enormous natural resources, which are revitalizing cross-border trade,
creating positive political interaction and stimulating regional
cooperation. These resources have the potential to recharge the
economies of neighboring countries and put entire regions on the road to
About 100 years ago, the international oil industry was born in the
Caspian/Central Asian region with the discovery of oil. In the
intervening years, under Soviet rule, the existence
of the region's oil and gas resources was generally known, but only
partially or poorly developed.
As we near the end of the 20th century, history brings us full circle.
With political barriers falling, Central Asia and the Caspian are once
again attracting people from around the globe who are seeking ways to
develop and deliver its bountiful energy resources to the markets of the
The Caspian region contains tremendous untapped hydrocarbon reserves,
much of them located in the Caspian Sea basin itself. Proven natural gas
reserves within Azerbaijan, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan and Kazakhstan
equal more than 236 trillion cubic feet. The region's total oil reserves
may reach more than 60 billion barrels of oil -- enough to service
Europe's oil needs for 11 years. Some estimates are as high as 200
billion barrels. In 1995, the region was producing only 870,000 barrels
per day (44 million tons per year [Mt/y]).
By 2010, Western companies could increase production to about 4.5
million barrels a day (Mb/d) -- an increase of more than 500 percent in
only 15 years. If this occurs, the region would represent about five
percent of the world's total oil production, and almost 20 percent of
oil produced among non-OPEC countries.
One major problem has yet to be resolved: how to get the region's vast
energy resources to the markets where they are needed. There are few, if
any, other areas of the world where there can be such a dramatic
increase in the supply of oil and gas to the world market. The solution
seems simple: build a "new" Silk Road. Implementing this solution,
however, is far from simple. The risks are high, but so are the rewards.
Finding and Building Routes to World Markets
One of the main problems is that Central Asia is isolated. The region is
bounded on the north by the Arctic Circle, on the east and west by vast
land distances, and on the south by a series of natural obstacles --
mountains and seas -- as well as political obstacles, such as conflict
zones or sanctioned countries.
This means that the area's natural resources are landlocked, both
geographically and politically. Each of the countries in the Caucasus
and Central Asia faces difficult political challenges. Some have
unsettled wars or latent conflicts. Others have evolving systems where
the laws -- and even the courts -- are dynamic and changing. Business
commitments can be rescinded without warning, or they can be displaced
by new geopolitical realities.
In addition, a chief technical obstacle we face in transporting oil is
the region's existing pipeline infrastructure. Because the region's
pipelines were constructed during the Moscow-centered Soviet period,
they tend to head north and west toward Russia. There are no connections
to the south and east.
Depending wholly on this infrastructure to export Central Asia oil is
not practical. Russia currently is unlikely to absorb large new
quantities of "foreign" oil, is unlikely to be a significant market for
energy in the next decade, and lacks the capacity to deliver it to other
Certainly there is no easy way out of Central Asia. If there are to be
other routes, in other directions, they must be built.
Two major energy infrastructure projects are seeking to meet this
challenge. One, under the aegis of the Caspian Pipeline Consortium, or
CPC, plans to build a pipeline west from the Northern Caspian to the
Russian Black Sea port of Novorossisk. From Novorossisk, oil from this
line would be transported by tanker through the Bosphorus to the
Mediterranean and world markets.
The other project is sponsored by the Azerbaijan International Operating
Company (AIOC), a consortium of 11 foreign oil companies including four
American companies -- Unocal, Amoco, Exxon and Pennzoil. It will follow
one or both of two routes west from Baku. One line will angle north and
cross the North Caucasus to Novorossisk. The other route would cross
Georgia and extend to a shipping terminal on the Black Sea port of
Supsa. This second route may be extended west and south across Turkey to
the Mediterranean port of Ceyhan.
But even if both pipelines were built, they would not have enough total
capacity to transport all the oil expected to flow from the region in
the future; nor would they have the capability to move it to the right
markets. Other export pipelines must be built.
Unocal believes that the central factor in planning these pipelines
should be the location of the future energy markets that are most likely
to need these new supplies. Just as Central Asia was the meeting ground
between Europe and Asia in centuries past, it is again in a unique
position to potentially service markets in both of these regions -- if
export routes to these markets can be built. Let's take a look at some
of the potential markets.
Western Europe is a tough market. It is characterized by high prices for
oil products, an aging population, and increasing competition from
natural gas. Between 1995 and 2010, we estimate that demand for oil will
increase from 14.1 Mb/d (705 Mt/y) to 15.0 Mb/d (750 Mt/y), an average
growth rate of only 0.5 percent annually. Furthermore, the region is
already amply supplied from fields in the Middle East, North Sea,
Scandinavia and Russia. Although there is perhaps room for some of
Central Asia's oil, the Western European market is unlikely to be able
to absorb all of the production from the Caspian region.
Central and Eastern Europe
Central and Eastern Europe markets do not look any better. Although
there is increased demand for oil in the region's transport sector,
natural gas is gaining strength as a competitor. Between 1995 and 2010,
demand for oil is expected to increase by only half a million barrels
per day, from 1.3 Mb/d (67 Mt/y) to 1.8 Mb/d (91.5 Mt/y). Like Western
Europe, this market is also very competitive. In addition to supplies of
oil from the North Sea, Africa and the Middle East, Russia supplies the
majority of the oil to this region.
The Domestic NIS Market
The growth in demand for oil also will be weak in the Newly Independent
States (NIS). We expect Russian and other NIS markets to increase demand
by only 1.2 percent annually between 1997 and 2010.
In stark contrast to the other three markets, the Asia/Pacific region
has a rapidly increasing demand for oil and an expected significant
increase in population. Prior to the recent turbulence in the various
Asian/Pacific economies, we anticipated that this region's demand for
oil would almost double by 2010. Although the short-term increase in
demand will probably not meet these expectations, Unocal stands behind
its long-term estimates.
Energy demand growth will remain strong for one key reason: the region's
population is expected to grow by 700 million people by 2010.
It is in everyone's interests that there be adequate supplies for Asia's
increasing energy requirements. If Asia's energy needs are not
satisfied, they will simply put pressure on all world markets, driving
prices upwards everywhere.
The key question is how the energy resources of Central Asia can be made
available to satisfy the energy needs of nearby Asian markets. There are
two possible solutions -- with several variations.
East to China: Prohibitively Long?
One option is to go east across China. But this would mean constructing
a pipeline of more than 3,000 kilometers to central China -- as well as
a 2,000-kilometer connection to reach the main population centers along
the coast. Even with these formidable challenges, China National
Petroleum Corporation is considering building a pipeline east from
Kazakhstan to Chinese markets.
Unocal had a team in Beijing just last week for consultations with the
Chinese. Given China's long-range outlook and its ability to concentrate
resources to meet its own needs, China is almost certain to build such a
line. The question is what will the costs of transporting oil through
this pipeline be and what netback will the producers receive.
South to the Indian Ocean: A Shorter Distance to Growing Markets
A second option is to build a pipeline south from Central Asia to the
One obvious potential route south would be across Iran. However, this
option is foreclosed for American companies because of U.S. sanctions
legislation. The only other possible route option is across Afghanistan,
which has its own unique challenges.
The country has been involved in bitter warfare for almost two decades.
The territory across which the pipeline would extend is controlled by
the Taliban, an Islamic movement that is not recognized as a government
by most other nations. From the outset, we have made it clear that
construction of our proposed pipeline cannot begin until a recognized
government is in place that has the confidence of governments, lenders
and our company.
In spite of this, a route through Afghanistan appears to be the best
option with the fewest technical obstacles. It is the shortest route to
the sea and has relatively favorable terrain for a pipeline. The route
through Afghanistan is the one that would bring Central Asian oil
closest to Asian markets and thus would be the cheapest in terms of
transporting the oil.
Unocal envisions the creation of a Central Asian Oil Pipeline
Consortium. The pipeline would become an integral part of a regional oil
pipeline system that will utilize and gather oil from existing pipeline
infrastructure in Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan and Russia.
The 1,040-mile-long oil pipeline would begin near the town of Chardzhou,
in northern Turkmenistan, and extend southeasterly through Afghanistan
to an export terminal that would be constructed on the Pakistan coast on
the Arabian Sea. Only about 440 miles of the pipeline would be in
This 42-inch-diameter pipeline will have a shipping capacity of one
million barrels of oil per day. Estimated cost of the project -- which
is similar in scope to the Trans Alaska Pipeline -- is about US$2.5
There is considerable international and regional political interest in
this pipeline. Asian crude oil importers, particularly from Japan, are
looking to Central Asia and the Caspian as a new strategic source of
supply to satisfy their desire for resource diversity. The pipeline
benefits Central Asian countries because it would allow them to sell
their oil in expanding and highly prospective hard currency markets. The
pipeline would benefit Afghanistan, which would receive revenues from
transport tariffs, and would promote stability and encourage trade and
economic development. Although Unocal has not negotiated with any one
group, and does not favor any group, we have had contacts with and
briefings for all of them. We know that the different factions in
Afghanistan understand the importance of the pipeline project for their
country, and have expressed their support of it.
A recent study for the World Bank states that the proposed pipeline from
Central Asia across Afghanistan and Pakistan to the Arabian Sea would
provide more favorable netbacks to oil producers through access to
higher value markets than those currently being accessed through the
traditional Baltic and Black Sea export routes.
This is evidenced by the netback values producers will receive as
determined by the World Bank study. For West Siberian crude, the netback
value will increase by nearly $2.00 per barrel by going south to Asia.
For a producer in western Kazakhstan, the netback value will increase by
more than $1 per barrel by going south to Asia as compared to west to
the Mediterranean via the Black Sea.
Natural Gas Export
Given the plentiful natural gas supplies of Central Asia, our aim is to
link a specific natural resource with the nearest viable market. This is
basic for the commercial viability of any gas project. As with all
projects being considered in this region, the following projects face
geo-political challenges, as well as market issues.
Unocal and the Turkish company, Koc Holding A.S., are interested in
bringing competitive gas supplies to the Turkey market. The proposed
Eurasia Natural Gas Pipeline would transport gas from Turkmenistan
directly across the Caspian Sea through Azerbaijan and Georgia to
Turkey. Sixty percent of this proposed gas pipeline would follow the
same route as the oil pipeline proposed to run from Baku to Ceyhan. Of
course, the demarcation of the Caspian remains an issue.
Last October, the Central Asia Pipeline, Ltd. (CentGas) consortium, in
which Unocal holds an interest, was formed to develop a gas pipeline
that will link Turkmenistan's vast natural gas reserves in the
Dauletabad Field with markets in Pakistan and possibly India. An
independent evaluation shows that the field's resources are adequate for
the project's needs, assuming production rates rising over time to 2
billion cubic feet of gas per day for 30 years or more.
In production since 1983, the Dauletabad Field's natural gas has been
delivered north via Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan and Russia to markets in the
Caspian and Black Sea areas. The proposed 790-mile pipeline will open up
new markets for this gas, travelling from Turkmenistan through
Afghanistan to Multan, Pakistan. A proposed extension would link with
the existing Sui pipeline system, moving gas to near New Delhi, where it
would connect with the existing HBJ pipeline. By serving these
additional volumes, the extension would enhance the economics of the
project, leading to overall reductions in delivered natural gas costs
for all users and better margins. As currently planned, the CentGas
pipeline would cost approximately $2 billion. A 400-mile extension into
India could add $600 million to the overall project cost.
As with the proposed Central Asia Oil Pipeline, CentGas cannot begin
construction until an internationally recognized Afghanistan government
is in place. For the project to advance, it must have international
financing, government-to-government agreements and
The Central Asia and Caspian region is blessed with abundant oil and gas
that can enhance the lives of the region's residents and provide energy
for growth for Europe and Asia.
The impact of these resources on U.S. commercial interests and U.S.
foreign policy is also significant and intertwined. Without peaceful
settlement of conflicts within the region, cross-border oil and gas
pipelines are not likely to be built. We urge the Administration and the
Congress to give strong support to the United Nations-led peace process
U.S. assistance in developing these new economies will be crucial to
business' success. We encourage strong technical assistance programs
throughout the region. We also urge repeal or removal of Section 907 of
the Freedom Support Act. This section unfairly restricts U.S. government
assistance to the government of Azerbaijan and limits U.S. influence in
Developing cost-effective, profitable and efficient export routes for
Central Asia resources is a formidable, but not impossible, task. It has
been accomplished before. A commercial corridor, a "new" Silk Road, can
link the Central Asia supply with the demand -- once again making
Central Asia the crossroads between Europe and Asia.
Is Oil the Real Target in Afghanistan?
Why are the Bush Administration and the Pentagon so intent on invading
Afghanistan? . If Bush has the "evidence" he claims, why not bring
Bin Laden before the World Court? Are they really just interested in
bringing down the Taliban and Osama Bin Laden? After all, it was the
U.S. Central Intelligence Agency, along with Pakistan's intelligence
forces who helped establish the Taliban as a base of power in
Afghanistan in the first place As recently as May 2001, George W. Bush
sent the Taliban $43 million allegedly to aid in the fight against
drugs in northern Afghanistan, the one part of the country controlled
by opposition forces. Now Congress is allocating billions more dollars
for "America's new war". There's not much new about it, however.
U.S. bombs and missiles have killed hundreds of thousands of civilians
in Iraq, Lebanon, Palestine, Sudan, Somalia and Afghanistan in the past
two decades alone. More often than not the aim has been to secure U.S.
control over the oil rich resources of the Middle East and southern
Asia, and this latest war drive, with the pretext of revenge for
September 11, may be no different.
Ever since the fall of the former Soviet Union ten years ago, Exxon,
Mobil, Chevron and the other big oil monopolies have been scheming to
get their hands on the vast oil and gas wealth around the Caspian Sea,
just north of Afghanistan. This region's oil reserves may reach more
than 60 billion barrels - enough to service Europe's oil needs for 11
years. Some estimates are as high as 200 billion barrels. The Caspian
Sea reserves are 10 percent of the world's known supply - worth about
$5 trillion at today's prices.
In February 1998, Unocal Corporation testified to the House Committee
on Internal Relations Subcommittee on Asia and the Pacific that the
"Taliban government in Afghanistan is an obstacle" to having an oil
pipeline from the Caspian region to the Indian Ocean - that is, through
Afghanistan. In 1997, Unocal even tried to woo the Taliban with
billions of dollars to support the proposed pipeline through their
country. The unrecognized Taliban government, however, was a set back
to their plans.
Having a government in Afghanistan that is beholden to U.S. interests,
along with stationing U.S. troops in the former Soviet Republics of
Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, and Turkmenistan, would secure the region and
allow this project to proceed. And just in time, as far as the U.S. oil
companies are concerned, because there is international competition for
the Caspian Sea oil resources.
Russia and German companies had been trying to establish a pipeline
from the Caspian Sea through Eastern Europe, but U.S. bombing of
Yugoslavia blocked this plan. Russia, however, also brokered a treaty
with Iran for a pipeline route. China also began negotiating to build
oil and gas pipelines from Kazakhstan. In January 2001, oil industry
journals lamented that any chance the U.S. had of cementing alliances
in the region seemed doomed. They noted, however, that the incoming
Bush administration, heavy in oil and related interests, would likely
try to reverse this trend (www.caucasuswatch.com).
The U.S. has it's own oil reserves, and does not need to rely on oil
from abroad. However, Europe, Japan and Asia are dependent on oil
from the Middle East (oil that is controlled by U.S. and British
companies) and they are eager for alternative and cheaper sources. The
continuous U.S. bombing of Iraq has kept oil prices high enough to make
construction of a U.S.-owned pipeline seem possible. The profits to be
made from controlling the flow of oil are the issue at stake in
"America's new war".
Issued by Philadelphia International Action Center, 813 S. 48th St.,
Philadelphia, PA 19143, 215-724-1618, <mailto:philnpc at op.net>
philnpc at op.net
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