KABUL -- Tehran is stepping up its aggression towards Afghanistan's natural resources and infrastructure development, observers and authorities in bordering provinces say, with the latest attack on Afghan dam workers in Nimroz province.
Iranian border forces on March 1 attacked Afghans working on the Kamal Khan Dam canal in the Helmand River, using light and heavy weapons, local authorities in Nimroz province said.
"While working in Helmand riverbank canals in the Abdul Rahman Gudar area, civilian labourers faced opposition from Iranian forces, who opened fire on them on Afghan soil," said Nimroz deputy governor Mohammad Nabi Barahaw.
Afghan border forces responded strongly to the Iranian forces and clashes ensued for several hours, he said. No casualties on the Afghan side were reported.
"Every year, Helmand riverbanks, where residents engage in farming, are fortified and canals are dredged," he said. "But this year, Iranian soldiers tried to stop work on Afghan soil."
The purpose of the fortifications and construction of canals is to prevent the Helmand River from changing course and to stop free water from flowing to Iran, said Nematullah Sediqi, a member of the Nimroz provincial council.
"Labourers were working with excavators on Afghan soil and did not have anything to do with Iran, but the Iranian soldiers wanted to stop the fortification of the river," he said.
"Iranian border forces attacked Afghan workers and their machinery using light and heavy weapons, as a result of which some of the machinery was damaged," he said.
Iranian bullets even hit Zaranj city, the provincial capital, damaging some residential homes, Sediqi said.
No more free water
With the completion of the Kamal Khan Dam in Nimroz, water impoundment started in early February.
Millions of cubic metres of water have been stored in the dam's reservoir in the past month -- water that would have flowed to Iran for free, local authorities say.
As a result, the Iranian government has been showing increased hostility and wants to destabilise the region, said Gul Ahmad Ahmadi, vice chairman of the Nimroz provincial council.
"Kamal Khan Dam has stopped the flow of free and uncontrolled water to Iran," he said.
The amount of water Iran has a right to from the Helmand River under historical agreements with the Afghan government is not enough to supply its agricultural lands, he said.
"The Iranian government has been irrigating its lands with free water from Helmand River for decades, earning millions of dollars each year" from agriculture exports as a result, Ahmadi said.
The more hostile the Iranian government becomes towards Afghanistan's dams, the more serious Afghans will become about protecting their national projects, he said.
Iran's border forces faced strong reaction from Afghan security forces, said Wahid Mirzad, a resident of Zaranj city.
"Since the construction of Kamal Khan Dam started, the Iranian government has regularly attacked Afghan soil directly and indirectly to prevent its construction," he said. "Iran does not want canals to be built as they will stop the flow of [free] water to Iran."
If the Iranian military attacks Kamal Khan Dam or its canals one more time, all young men from Nimroz will take up arms and will stand beside Afghan security forces against Iranian aggression, Mirzad warned.
All of Iran's efforts to prevent the construction of dams and its malicious interference in Afghanistan's western region have failed, observers say.
Salma and Pashdan dams in Herat, Kamal Khan Dam in Nimroz and Bakhshabad Dam in Farah have been repeatedly attacked in recent years, but the Afghan National Defence and Security Forces have repelled all such assaults.
Gone are the days when the Iranian government could harm dams in Afghanistan using force, said Abdul Qader Kamel, a political analyst in Herat city.
"Using terrorist groups, the Iranian government has tried a lot in the past couple of years to prevent the construction of dams in the western region, but these efforts have yielded no results," he said.
"None of the attacks by Iran-linked militants on dams have been successful."
"The government of Iran should forget about the destruction of irrigation and hydro-electric dams in Afghanistan, and instead of its destructive interference, it should engage in peaceful negotiations with the people and government of Afghanistan and reach an agreement to obtain the water it needs," Kamel said.
The Iranian government must accept the reality that the time to receive free water has gone and that it must pay the people and government of Afghanistan for surplus water, said Abdul Saboor Atayee, a civil society activist in Nimroz.
"Our security forces have proven very well that they can protect infrastructure projects, especially dams," he said.
"If the government of Iran could destroy ... dams in Afghanistan, it would have done so in the past 20 years."
Iranians, along with Reza Pahlavi and Khamenei, and their mercenaries who have gathered from most parts of the great Khorasan and intended to occupy "Nasratabad and Hussainabad" of western Nimroz, have made the mistake of attacking Kamal Khan Dam's workers. The Baloch people of Nimroz have a natural and legal right to build this dam the way they want. Iranians, along with the British, invaded western Nimroz in 1927, killed many Baloch people, displaced many of them and divided the irrigated lands among the mercenary army or division they brought with them. They divided the northern province of Balochistan of Nimroz into three parts among England, Iran and Pakistan. The Balochs who did not move were left landless and poor. The same occupied lands are still in the hands of the children of the same mercenary army. As a Baloch of Nimroz, I do not want to give a drop of water to the lands that have been grabbed in Nasratabad, Hussainabad, Zahak, Kammak, Banjar and so on. I hope these mercenary grabbers will perish from lack of water or they should leave the lands of Nimroz to which they gave the faked name of "Sistan, Zabulistan and so on" and return them to their ancestral home.Reply
All the governors so far assigned in Nimroz have not worked well. Hope that afterwards, attention and focus will be given to this area.Reply
In response to the attack of the Iranian border forces on Kamal Khan Dam workers, the Afghan forces should have carried out a similar attack and killed many of the Iranian forces so that they cannot commit such actions in the future. If Iranians do not have water in their country and used our water for hundreds of years, it is the problem of their own country, because their own country doesn't have water. Though our country does not have as many oil reserves as Iran, we did not say even one day that Iran should give us its oil for free, so why is Iran now jealous of the construction of our dams and does not allow us to control our own water and use it to the benefit of our country? Iranians should be ashamed that they expect to use the water of our country.Reply
The president himself is fool; he should say that we will not give free water, and we will also not pay money, because Afghanistan is a rich source of oil, uranium and gas. I am literate. I studied at a university in Iran and saw the dirty country’s regime that gas is produced from hydrogen, carbon dioxide and Methane oxygen. If God is willing, our country is rich in oil and gas resources. It has been 300 years since we didn’t find a good president for Afghanistan. I will rebuild my country in 3 years if only become president. I will say just one word, warn. Just warn Iran, and tell it that if you fire one bullet at Kamal Khan Dam, the border of Afghanistan, the soil of Afghanistan, or the military forces of Afghanistan, we will destroy your country completely. You don’t have the right to get our water. There is the United Nations; a country has its own right. According to international law, no country has the right to use other country's resources by force.Reply
If Taliban were in power now, they would not let the attack of Iran unanswered. They would have now deployed all border forces in the border with Iran and fired many missiles at Iran, but unfortunately this government does not have the courage to do so. On one hand, Pakistan is continuing its artillery attacks on the eastern provinces, especially Kunar, and on the other hand, Iran is creating disturbances for the construction of electricity dams in Afghanistan, but the Afghan government is just watching, and showing no reaction.Reply
Taliban are the mercenaries of Iran and Pakistan.Reply
We don't take your answer seriously, because everyone in today's political debates has an opinion, but the Taliban themselves are the servants of these foreign countries, and they were selling the country with their two hands to anyone who would buy it, and they are still their slaves. Next time, think before what you want to say.Reply
Unfortunately, the problem of Afghanistan is because of its own people. If people were united with each other and there was a strong government, even the father of Iran would not be able to attack Afghanistan; even it wouldn’t be able to think of it. Now Iran knows that no one can stand against the attack of Iran, because the people of Afghanistan have been divided into many groups and even many types of governments exist in this country. Half of Afghanistan is governed by the government and half of it is governed by Taliban. One government is supported by America, and the other one is baked by Saudi Arabia. Both America and Saudi Arabia are the enemies of Iran. Therefore, we ask both Taliban and the government to know that Iran is very dangerous for Afghanistan.Reply
If Iran is supposed to attack Afghanistan, I am also ready to stand on the side of the Afghan National Defense and Security Forces against the enemy and defend every inch of my country’s soil. Iran has been meddling indirectly in Afghanistan's internal affairs for the past forty years, and now this interference of Iran has turned into a direct one. Therefore, we ask the Afghan government to respond to the attack of Iran, because if this response remains unanswered, Iran will carry out another attack on Afghanistan in the future, because constructions of dams has faced Iran with drought and the Iranian government is making its last efforts in order to prevent construction of these water dams in Afghanistan.Reply
They are dying for drought. Four years later, they will understand the value of water like a dog. Then we should not give them even a single drop of our country’s water. They have the habit of dogs. By God, they are not humans. If I will be president, three years later if they fire a bullet, I will respond with 10 bullets.Reply