Security

Taliban reportedly pledged water access to Iran in return for support

By Ali

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The Farah River is seen in this photo, taken June 4 in Parchaman district, Farah province. Originating in Ghor province, the Farah flows 560km to the Helmand swamps on the Afghan-Iranian border. [207th Zafar Corps]

KABUL -- Iranian officials appear to have pledged their support for the Taliban in exchange for receiving water from Afghanistan, among other concessions made during a January meeting in Tehran, Afghan officials and activists said.

Based on information he has received about the meeting, Badghis provincial council chairman Abdul Aziz Baig said, the Taliban and Iranian officials made several commitments to each other on a variety of issues.

"The Iranian government supports the Taliban to protect its interests, whether it is water or harming the US," he said.

This support has included arms, he added, noting that Afghan forces have seized Iranian weapons from the Taliban on a number of occasions.

Afghan officials have repeatedly accused the Iranian regime of supporting the Taliban to prevent the construction of dams in the western region and to ensure the continuation of water flow into Iran.

"The Iran-backed Taliban are more active in Farah and Nimroz, since these provinces are on the border with Iran," Baig said.

"We call on the Taliban and Iran, who met behind closed doors to plot the destruction of dams in Afghanistan, especially Kamal Khan Dam, not to destroy Afghanistan," said Mohammad Anwar Sultani, a resident of the Nimroz provincial capital of Zaranj.

He called on the Taliban to stop serving the agenda of foreigners and to make peace with their people.

No more free water from Afghanistan

The construction of Kamal Khan Dam is creating animosity between Iran and Afghanistan, said Nematullah Sediqi, a member of the Nimroz provincial council.

Iran used free water from Afghanistan for decades, he said, and now that the water is being managed, the Iranian government has become more sensitive.

"The Iranian government is furious about the construction of dams in the western region, doing everything it can to stop construction of the Kamal Khan, Bakhshabad and Pashdan dams," he said.

Gone are those days of receiving free water from Afghanistan, he said, noting that it would be better for the Iranian government to engage in constructive talks with Afghanistan instead of supporting militants to destroy dams.

Faced with a drought in its eastern regions, Iran has become highly dependent on water from Afghanistan, said Ghor province activist Hasan Hakimi.

"If our dams stop the flow of water, several Iranian cities will face severe water shortages, forcing their residents to leave," he said.

The Afghan government has the right to contain its water in accordance with international laws and if Iran wants extra water, it must pay for it, he added.

Attacks on infrastructure

In recent years, the Taliban have repeatedly attacked dams in Afghanistan's western region in an attempt to stop construction -- but they have not succeeded.

The Taliban are intent on destroying any large, new national project, said Atiqullah Wasel, a resident of the Badghis provincial capital of Qala-e-Naw.

As a recent case in point, the Taliban on February 14 abducted 11 Afghan workers who were building Pashdan Dam in Herat.

Iran's hand in destroying dams or preventing their construction, via the Taliban, is unacceptable to the people of Afghanistan, who will stand up to the Taliban, said Firoz Koh resident Amir Mohammad Waseq.

"Dams will stop the flow of free water to Iran," said Qala-e-Naw activist Mohammad Naser Ahmadi. "The Iranian government gives the Taliban money and weapons, and in return, the Taliban destroy infrastructure."

"Destruction of transmission towers in Badghis province is a clear example of [the Taliban's] hostility towards development and prosperity in Afghanistan," he said.

"Residents of Badghis have been living in darkness for some time now, while the Taliban do not allow the repair of transmission towers," Ahmadi said.

Construction continues

While the Iranian regime and the Taliban have been plotting against dams in Afghanistan, construction of a number of dams is progressing very well, Afghan observers say.

Construction of Kamal Khan Dam's reservoir in Nimroz province, which borders Iran, started in early February and is scheduled to end soon.

The reservoir's construction is 99% complete, said Nimroz governor Zmaryalai Ahadi February 10, adding that impoundment of water has started.

President Ashraf Ghani is to inaugurate the dam, which is expected to boost the agricultural sector and create jobs in the province.

Meanwhile, diversion tunnels for Bakhshabad Dam are near completion, and construction workers plan to build the dam's main retaining wall soon, said Farah province governor Taj Muhammad Jahid.

With the construction of Bakhshabad Dam, a large share of the running water will be contained and will not flow to Iran, Jahid added.

Construction of Pashdan Dam in Karukh district is 60% complete, said Herat governor Sayed Wahid Qatali, noting that hundreds of workers are toiling round the clock to finish the job.

"We will inaugurate Pashdan Dam in a year," Qatali pledged.

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4 Comment
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It seems from your report that the war in Afghanistan is a war over water. If Afghanistan gives its water to the countries, the war will end, and if it controls this water, the war will be intensified. Taliban should be ashamed that they are destroying their country in exchange for money and selling their country to the enemy in order to gain power.

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The war of Afghanistan is very important for the region, especially for Iran and Pakistan as well as India. Afghan water has been flowing to the neighboring countries for centuries, and these countries have irrigated thousands of hectares of their land with Afghan water and even built electricity dams. If there is no war in this country and there is a strong government, it will immediately control its waters, and this will be to the detriment of Iran and Pakistan, which use Afghanistan's water. In the past, Pakistan was supporting terrorist groups to escalate the war in Afghanistan, and now Iran is trying more than Pakistan that war should continue in Afghanistan so that it uses Afghan water on the one hand, and fail the Doha agreement that has been signed between Taliban and the American government on the other hand in order that the US troops remain in Afghanistan, and all of them are killed in Afghanistan. The United States of America must try to establish a strong government in Afghanistan with the participation of Taliban as soon as possible so that it can prevent the interference of Iran and Pakistan.

Reply

If Taliban make promise to Iran to give them access to water in exchange of Iran's money and support for the group, Taliban will lose support in Afghanistan because for the people of Afghanistan, their country is important and the people of this country don’t like that the internal resources of their country are used by the neighboring countries. If there is no war in Afghanistan and this country controls its water, Afghanistan will prosper very soon.

Reply

The best way to prevent Iran's terrorist policies in the region and to put a foot on the throat of the Iranian dictators is to constrain the Afghan water. This way, on one side, economic issues will increase inside Iran, and on the other side, Iranians will be provoked against the government of Iran because the people of Iran know that the works done by the countries of the region are reactions to Iran's destructive policies. In the meantime, if the international community aids in constraining the Afghan water especially in the Western and Eastern parts of the country, this will be the second step being taken in favor of Afghanistan after building and supporting the national army, and they will win the position of Afghans' friendship. Long life to the friendship of Afghanistan and the international community. Death to Iranian and Pakistani armies and intelligence.

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