Or, they could provide a way for the impoverished nation to become self-sustaining. The way the riches will be used, and exploited, will have everything to do with how their discovery is handled and promoted. The New York Times
broke the story:
The previously unknown deposits — including huge veins of iron, copper, cobalt, gold and critical industrial metals like lithium — are so big and include so many minerals that are essential to modern industry that Afghanistan could eventually be transformed into one of the most important mining centers in the world, the United States officials believe.
An internal Pentagon memo, for example, states that Afghanistan could become the “Saudi Arabia of lithium,” a key raw material in the manufacture of batteries for laptops and BlackBerrys.
The discoveries were found by a team of U.S. geologists and government officials, who called the mineral deposits "astonishing." There was no mention in the Pentagon memo as to how the discoveries would be handled from here.
As a side note, The New York Times noted the difficultly in maintaining proper environmental standards in a country that had no history of environmental sensitivity.