Economy

Pashdan Dam construction moves ahead despite Iranian sabotage efforts

By Omar

Construction work on the Pashdan Dam in Herat Province, Afghanistan, is progressing despite attempts by the Iranian regime and militant groups to disrupt the project, according to local officials. Construction on the dam is 50% complete, and the project is expected to finish by the end of 2021. [Omar]

HERAT -- Construction work on the Pashdan Dam in Herat Province is moving forward despite attempts by the Iranian regime and militant groups to disrupt the project, according to local officials.

Construction on the dam, one of two in Herat Province, is 50% complete, and the project is expected to finish by the end of 2021, say provincial authorities.

The Pashdan Dam, when complete, will be able to hold 40 million cubic metres of water and generate 2MW of electricity.

One goal of the project is to irrigate 13,000 hectares of farmland.

image

An Afghan soldier March 22 stands guard in Karukh District, Herat Province, as construction workers build the Pashdan Dam. [Omar]

image

Construction work proceeds on the Pashdan Dam in Karukh District, Herat Province, March 22. [Omar]

Water from the dam also will reach Herat city, where it will be used to irrigate the greenbelt around the city and supply drinkable water, said local authorities. The Afghan government is funding the $117 million (8.9 billion AFN) project.

Construction is taking place 24 hours a day with a total of 1,000 workers and engineers working in three shifts around the clock, said Muhammad Arif Achekzai, director of the company building the Pashdan Dam.

The work is progressing even as the regime of neighbouring Iran, through its support of militant groups such as the Taliban, has tried to impede the construction, he said.

"Work on the Pashdan Dam has progressed well, but some individuals and groups are covertly trying to interfere with the dam construction," said Achekzai, referred to meddling by the Iranian regime and militant groups such as the Taliban.

"The Pashdan Dam will improve the economy, and visitors can come here for sightseeing as well, but the enemy is trying to stop the dam from being built," he added. "It is difficult to lay a single stone in Afghanistan for rebuilding, let alone implement national water projects [such as this one]."

The Iranian regime -- which is heavily dependent on Afghan water -- has displayed hostility towards water projects in the country in the past, and Afghan officials have repeatedly accused the regime of supporting the Taliban to prevent the construction of dams in the western region.

The Iranian regime is desperate to stop the construction of hydro-power dams in Afghanistan -- especially in the western region, said Abdul Qader Kamel, a political affairs analyst in Herat Province.

The dams can retain Afghan water, meaning that downstream Iran will face a water shortage, he said.

"Iran has always tried to prevent the building of dams in the west," added Kamel. "Several times it planned to destroy the Salma Dam, but it was thwarted."

"It put a lot of effort in trying to stop the building of the Pashdan Dam," he said. "Construction of the Bakhshabad Dam in Farah hasn't started because of Iran's direct interference."

"Iran feels threatened by the construction of hydro-power dams," he said. "This country [Iran] has been using Afghan water for free for decades; therefore, it doesn't want to be cut off."

Still, "all the efforts of the Iranian government have been unsuccessful in preventing the construction of dams in Afghanistan," Kamel said.

Protection by security forces

To blunt attempts at halting construction, hundreds of security personnel patrol the site night and day, officials say. The guards protect workers, engineers and machinery.

These security forces have the necessary equipment and arms to secure the Pashdan Dam, said 2nd Lt. Noor Muhammad Haideri, commander of the squad protecting the project.

No country or group has the ability to prevent the construction of the dam, he said.

"The security forces don’t allow anyone to get close to the project," added Haideri. "Those who are seeking to destroy the Pashdan Dam, they should know that they will take this hope to their graves."

"The security forces and I would like to give a message to those who intend to destroy the Pashdan Dam: they will never succeed, and we'll defend this national project of the Afghan people to the last drop of our blood," he said.

The Afghan people should rest assured that the security forces are determined to protect all of the country's national projects, he noted.

Despite the security threats, construction of the Pashdan Dam has progressed well and the security forces have prevented interference by neighbouring countries and groups associated with them, said Basir Ahmad Danishyar, a political scientist and lecturer at Herat University.

"Some of the neighbouring countries, which see the construction of the Pashdan Dam as a threat to their interests, are trying to interfere with its work and even inflict damage on it, but the security forces and the public have proved that they will continue to defend their national projects," he said.

The Pashdan Dam is one of the major achievements of the Afghan government and will have a positive impact on the lives of residents of Herat Province, said Danishyar.

"Although the security forces have justly defended national projects like the Pashdan Dam, the government needs to send even more resources to the Pashdan Dam so that no country or group dares to come close to the project [and damage it]," he added.

Hope for a brighter future

Ahmad Shah, a farmer in Pashdan village of Karukh District in Herat Province, lauded the progress on the dam construction as it will provide sustainable electricity as well as irrigation for farmlands.

Ahmad Shah, who has no last name, said he will expand his agricultural fields when the dam is built.

"People are happy that the construction work of the Pashdan Dam is progressing fast," he said. "A large number of Pashdan village residents have been working on the dam project, and this dam has made us hopeful. It is transforming the lives of a large number of residents of Herat Province."

"There has always been drought in our village, and once the dam is built, it will provide a permanent flow of irrigation water to our farmlands and enable us to earn a decent living," he added. "When the dam project is complete, all the land will be cultivated."

The Pashdan Dam and other national infrastructure projects make the public hopeful for a better and peaceful future, said Wahid Ahmad Qayoumi, a resident of Herat city.

"Afghanistan is not just a country of war and destruction," he said. "We know that the war is going on, but Afghanistan's progress and good aspects make the public hopeful. The construction of dams, highways and bridges as well as economic growth will lead us to a sustainable and peaceful Afghanistan."

Do you like this article?

6 Comment
* Denotes required field Comment Policy 1500 characters remaining (1500 max)

Constructing of water and electricity dams is very important for the progress and development of Afghanistan because these are among the infrastructural works, and the infrastructural works can free Afghanistan from the need or dependence. Over the past two decades, the international community has spent most of the money on the war in Afghanistan. If foreign countries, especially the United States, had done fundamental works in Afghanistan, and at least built basic items producing factories in Afghanistan, now Afghanistan would not have been dependent on Pakistan and Iran. And people wouldn’t have been worried that Pakistan had closed its gates on the face of Afghan traders and the price of basic items in the country had risen because the factories would produce all the basic items and supply them to the Afghan markets according to the demands of the people. Also by constructing these factories, thousands of people would have been hired on jobs and they would have improved the economic condition of their families, but foreign countries did not do so. They focused most of their attention on the war, and they did nothing to make Afghanistan self-sufficient and raise the economic level of the people. It has still not been too late for foreign countries to have long term cooperation with Afghanistan so that it can stand on its own feet and not be dependent on Iran and Pakistan.

Reply

I have been checking Salaam Times' news. Abdul Qader Kamil and Sayed Ashraf Sadat in Herat always give very good comments. They know well about all aspects of Iran's evil thinking and they give very good details on it. In fact, by exposing the evil ideas and intentions of Iran, they achieve jihad [holy war]. They both together with the officers who protect Pashdan and other dams from the evil plans of Iran, do jihad [holy war] on the way of God because they work and raise voice for protecting the rights of the poor Afghans. Similarly, you may write on the evil acts of Pakistan which has been killing our innocent people for the last forty years, and you may inform the people about the hypocritic policies of Pakistan. One of the evil plans of Pakistan was assassination of the Japanese-Afghan Nakamura whose' killing deprived Afghans of a big benefactor. Death to Iran and Pakistan.

Reply

I always become happy to learn about the implementation of infrastructural works in the country. Ashraf Ghani has really done a lot of things for Afghanistan. Whether one agrees or not, history will make judgment about him. If there had been no war in Afghanistan over the past five years, Ashraf Ghani would have done many things for Afghanistan and even freed Afghanistan from the needs of the foreign countries. Ashraf Ghani is working hard to anchor the wrecked ship of Afghanistan to the coast, but he is under pressure by domestic and foreign enemies. Pakistan and Iran tried a lot to prevent Ashraf Ghani from becoming president, and they are still working and calling Abdullah Abdullah every day to stand up against Ashraf Ghani and not to allow him fight against the mafia. You saw two days ago that the Iranian foreign minister spoke with Abdullah Abdullah on the phone. Why did he call Abdullah? What is Abdullah's job now? It seems that Iran is making mischief in internal affairs of Afghanistan.

Reply

The only way for Afghanistan to become self-sufficient is building dams. Afghanistan is a landlocked country, but it has many mountains that have caused flowing of roaring rivers. These roaring rivers flow into Iran and Pakistan without being used in the country. And the two countries irrigate thousands of hectares of land from the water of Afghanistan. They built a lot of dams that have become a good source of electricity production for them. If this Afghan water is controlled and dams are built in Afghanistan, on one hand, drought will end in this country and agriculture will grow, and on the other hand, these dams will cause producing tens of megawatts of electricity and electricity shortages in Afghanistan will be filled. Construction of dams in Afghanistan will inflict economic blows on Pakistan and Iran, and they can no longer train terrorist groups and send them to Afghanistan and other countries in the region to kill innocent people and achieve their sinister goals. I urge the international community to do the infrastructural works in Afghanistan so that Afghanistan can stand on its own feet. Also, I would like to extend my special thank or gratitude to Salaam Times for releasing such good reports which make people hopeful for the future of their country.

Reply

Praise be to Allah, it is pleasing that such development works are going on. If America really wants to defeat the Iranian regime, it has to use this important weapon against Iran, meaning that it should build power dams in Afghanistan. Iran and Pakistan get our water for free and in exchange they give nothing to Afghanistan. Long live Afghan – American friendship. Death to the terrorist Iran and Pakistan.

Reply

Dams are among the most important sources for foreign alternative aids, but unfortunately at the top leadership of the Afghan government are people who do not pay the least attention to these sources. And since they have citizenship of other countries, they prefer to escape rather than stand against the smallest adversities or disasters so that they would not receive any physical harm.

Reply