America’s longest war grinds on with little hope, with neither side able achieve a lasting victory. What could break the deadlock? Where should the U.S. focus its efforts to find a path to a negotiated ending to a violent civil war, such as we saw in the Balkans in the 1990s and in Colombia this decade? Two vital fronts of this challenge are closely linked: addressing the endemic problem of corruption and finding a viable economic model for the country. And a key source of both potential wealth and ongoing corruption is Afghanistan’s abundance of minerals, thought to be worth as much as $1 trillion by some sources. Yes, instability is adding to the difficulty of attracting initial investment, but over time there is every possibility for large-scale mining of lithium, gold, iron, copper, lead, rare earths, gemstones and talc. Baby Powder Is the Secret Weapon in the Afghanistan War And that's why we are still there.