Elliot D. Woods has an intriguing piece up at the Virginia Quarterly Review about the mineral wealth and mining practices in Afghanistan. The piece is an excellent essay looking at the current situation and the potential of Afghanistan. I think what it misses is the larger ramifications of nearly all mining practices no matter what the social or economic climate of the region being mined. To note that Afghanistan doesn’t meet international safety standards seems to me to fall flat when compared to the mining disasters occurring in far more stable regions. Where the strength lies in Woods’ work is in his overall descriptions of the condition of the industry in Afghanistan and the response to the Pentagon’s report about mineral resources that he cites early in the essay. His piece is well worth a thorough read.