OIL DISCOVERED IN AFGHANISTAN
KABUL, Aug. 16, 2010 (Xinhua News Agency) -- Afghanistan has discovered an oil field containing an estimated 1.8 billion barrels of crude oil, local media reported Monday.
The resource would be more than 10 times the size of the country's discovered oil reserves, according to Outlook Afghanistan, the leading newspaper of the country.
The huge oil resource has been discovered by Afghan geologists in cooperation with international geologists in the area between the country's northern provinces of Balkh and Sheberghan, Jawad Omar, spokesman for the Ministry for Mines and Industries, was quoted as saying.
Agence France-Presse First Posted 19:33:00 08/15/2010
Filed Under: Oil & Gas - Upstream activities
KABUL . Afghanistan's mining ministry announced Sunday that a new oil deposit with an estimated 1.8 billion barrels of crude had been discovered in the relatively peaceful north of the war-torn country.
"It's a totally new oil deposit, which extends in a triangle between Balkh, Hairatan and Shuburghan", ministry spokesman Jawad Omar told AFP.
"The reserves of the new deposit are estimated at 1.8 billion barrels of crude," he added.
Geologists are not expected to complete further assessments on the ground until January and then the deposit will be opened to tender, Omar said.
It is the sixth oil deposit discovery in Afghanistan. The largest are found in the Amu Daria river basin marking the border between Afghanistan, Uzbekistan and Tadjikistan.
There are others in Herat, in the west, Helmand in the south and Paktia in the southeast.
In late June, Afghanistan's mines minister Wahidullah Shahrani said he had been in talks with oil giants Total and ENI as well as Canadian firm Heritage Oil about exploration deals in Afghanistan.
I heard it on www.democracynow.org first.
L A TIMES
Afghan president to eliminate private security within 4 months
The move appears to trump actions by NATO to rein in the contractors, which have incited public fury with incidents that have left civilians dead and injured. The guards are used extensively by the Western community.
By Laura King, Los Angeles Times
August 16, 2010|6:28 a.m.
Reporting from Kabul, Afghanistan .
President Hamid Karzai will shut down all private security firms operating in Afghanistan within four months, his spokesman announced Monday, sending ripples of alarm through a Western community that relied heavily on such protection.
The Afghan leader had said for months that he intended to call a halt to the operations of private security firms, which are not regulated by the Afghan government and have long been a source of friction between Karzai's administration and the West.
However, in announcing a fairly near-term deadline for the shutdown, the president appeared to preempt efforts by NATO's International Security Assistance Force to register private security contractors and set standards for their behavior.
The deadline could be used as a bargaining chip by Karzai in an ongoing dispute over corruption in his government. Those tensions escalated when the president recently moved to assert control over two Afghan bodies tasked with tackling fraud and graft, after the home of a senior Karzai aide suspected of bribery was raided.
Dozens of private security companies, some foreign and some Afghan, are thought to have a workforce numbering around 40,000 people. They vie for billions of dollars in contracts, many handed out by the U.S. military.
Western officials have expressed agreement in principle with Karzai's demand to rein in the security contractors, but the timetable could cause serious problems for foreign firms, diplomatic missions, the NATO force and others.
All over the capital, international organizations, restaurants, hotels and guesthouses are surrounded by high concrete blast barriers and . almost invariably . private guards.
Karzai has said Afghan security forces would take up the slack, but few here consider the Afghan police and army ready to shoulder the burden of providing general security. And even with the troop buildup ordered by President Obama, which is nearing completion, Western military forces are already spread thin.
The U.S. Embassy, which makes use of private security, has had no immediate comment on Karzai's decision, which is expected to be formalized with a decree later Monday.
Karzai's spokesman, Waheed Omar, told reporters in Kabul on Monday that "within four months, all private security companies will be disbanded." Nine days earlier, Karzai had made a speech pledging to scrap private security firms but did not set a deadline at that time.
As also happened in Iraq, security contractors in Afghanistan periodically have stirred public fury with incidents that have left civilians dead and injured. In theory, they are subject to Afghan law but, at times, have been whisked out of the country when prosecution looms.
At the end of July, a traffic accident involving contractors from DynCorp that killed four Afghans fueled furious anti-American protests in Kabul.
Karzai's move appears to have taken Western officials by surprise.
Hours before Omar's announcement, a Western military spokesman, Brig. Gen. Josef Blotz, offered an update on actions of a military task force set up in June to provide oversight of private security firms.
Blotz told reporters the transition away from contractors and to the Afghan army and police would "happen over time."Stumble It!