As a dyed in the wool cynic my (I hope) balanced comments are as follows;
It has taken 9 years for this to come out so I doubt this was the original catalyst behind the strong US-led support for sustaining the war in Afghanistan BUT at a time when the alliance is starting to wobble (particularly as regards support at home) it is certainly a convenient time to unveil a more positive side to Afghanistan's economic prospects than poppy fields.
Now my question converts to "do I believe the Yanks?" It is pretty easy to make statements of this sort and pretty difficult to qualify them. In my experience coincidences should be met with suspicion and, as has been pointed out elsewhere, including in other threads, the confluence of considerations is a bit too convenient namely;
1. US Mid-term and declining popularity for Obama
2. Coalition partners reviewing their involvement
3. Stalemate in achieving a military solution with increasing casualty rates and discontent among various electorates at home
4. Balooning costs of involvement
5. And probably a dozen more reasons to boot
My original comment was deliberately sarcastic, and yes, it would indeed be a fantastic opportunity to move LNs away from opiate production, but it does make you think: If I was Terry and fighting infidels on my home turf and suddenly found out I was sitting on a gold mine, what would I do? Give up fighting and start digging alongside my US investment partners? I doubt it. Dig in for the duration? Yup!
Can you imagine handing a trillion dollar industry to fanatics...