UN programme funds reconstruction of irrigation canal in Kunduz

By Muhammad Qasem

An excavator works on a irrigation canal September 8 in Aliabad district, Kunduz province. [Courtesy of Obaidullah Ahmadi]

An excavator works on a irrigation canal September 8 in Aliabad district, Kunduz province. [Courtesy of Obaidullah Ahmadi]

KUNDUZ -- An international aid organisation, with funding from the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), has started renovation work on an irrigation canal in Aliabad district of Kunduz that will provide water to more than 1,000 hectares of agricultural land.

Work on the canal began September 8 and will take three months to complete, according to Faizullah Howaida, director of the Swedish Committee for Afghanistan (SCA) in the northern provinces.

The renovation will cost 9 million AFN ($102,000).

"We are fortunately launching the construction work of an irrigation canal in Aliabad district today, which was a long-held wish of the locals -- especially the farmers," Howaida told reporters during the project's ribbon cutting ceremony.

"The canal is 27km long, of which we will rebuild 110 metres that were destroyed by flooding and natural disasters."

"The canal will irrigate about 1,000 hectares of agricultural land, which will also transform infertile and single-harvest lands into double-harvest," he said. "This will definitely have a positive impact on the agriculture output and the livelihood of our farmers."

In addition to providing irrigation water, construction work on the canal will create jobs for hundreds of district residents, according to Howaida.

"SCA in co-operation with its partners, plans to implement similar projects in other districts of Kunduz province to address people's needs in different areas," he added.

Sahar Gul Muradi, CEO of the Kunduz-Shamal construction company, which is implementing the project, urged locals to co-operate with the company in the operation and maintenance of the canal.

"Our expectation from the international community is to support the private sector to address problems faced by people through the implementation of development projects," he said.

Addressing water shortages

Farmers have welcomed the launch of the project.

Juma-ul-ddin, 58, a farmer in Aliabad district, said farmers' crops often perish from water shortages and regular droughts, resulting in financial losses.

"We have been facing water shortages for years," he said. "We could harvest some wheat, but we could never grow rice."

"With sufficient irrigation water, in addition to wheat, we could grow rice too since there is great demand for rice," he said. "It will also improve household incomes."

The irrigation project will improve livelihoods across the area, said Abdul Samad, 49, a farmer in Lala Maidan village of Aliabad district.

"We had many security and economic problems in the past, but now we hope that the major issues faced by our farmers will be addressed," he said.

"No fundamental [infrastructure] work has been done in our village and surrounding villages in the past 20 years," he said. "There are no bridges, no electricity, no roads. Nothing has been done for us."

"If major issues faced by our farmers are addressed, especially irrigation issues, food prices will drop in the market and the livelihoods of farmers will improve," he said.

Public support for projects

Most of the old irrigation canals in Aliabad have been destroyed by flooding because they were poorly built and repaired only piecemeal over time, according to local residents.

"Very little water used to flow in the canal, which would also be damaged by rising water levels and floods," said Assadullah Salem, a tribal elder in Aliabad.

Residents "used to reconstruct it in a traditional manner without much effectiveness", he said. "But with [proper] construction, lands will be protected and access to water will be restored."

"The canal that is going to be constructed in Lala Maidan village of Aliabad district passes through dozens of other villages allowing residents, especially farmers, to benefit from its water," Salem said.

"We call on other donors to implement public projects in this district since it is in great need of infrastructure projects such as canals, retaining walls, bridges, roads, electricity, drinking water and schools," he said.

Residents of Aliabad district welcome and support the implementation of development projects, Salem said, adding that more infrastructure work is needed.

"With the implementation of this project, enough water will be provided to the farmers who were not able to receive the required amount of water before because of damages and leaks in the canal," said Abdul Khaliq Ibrahim, a representative of the Kunduz governor.

"With the partial construction of the canal, its destruction will be prevented and farmers will receive enough water," he said.

Ibrahim urged for more projects to be implemented in the provincial capital and districts, adding that "such projects can play a positive role in improving the residents' livelihoods".

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The construction of a canal and the collection of even a single bucket of water and its usage in Afghanistan are also beneficial for Afghans. Kiss the hands of everyone working to build canals and dams in Afghanistan. These people are your true friends. Whether they are the United Nations, the Americans, the Arabs, the Indians, and even if they are the hypocrites (Pakistanis), those who help the Afghans control the water in Afghanistan should be appreciated. Long live Afghanistan.


According to Naseer Faiq: "As per the last year's agreement, no one is going to deliver a speech on behalf of Afghanistan and Myanmar at the United Nations' annual Assembly this year. It means that Afghanistan's right to speech at the United Nations is denied for the second year in a row." Just note that United Nations is so stupid that even it prevents someone from talking on behalf of his destroyed country. In other words, the world wouldn't learn about the ongoing crisis in Afghanistan. The issues of human rights, women's rights, children's rights, and freedom of speech, crimes committed by the Taliban, the international coalition, and the northern alliance in Afghanistan wouldn’t be discussed. No one would talk about Pakistan's brutal invasion of Afghanistan, Iran's cultural invasion, Russia's interference, and China's plundering of Afghanistan's resources.


I think the international NGOs have now selected the main route. In my opinion, providing humanitarian assistance is more than enough. All the focus should turn to strengthen the infrastructure of the country. Furthermore, the international NGOs should try to resume the Citizen Charter Program. While pushing fundamental shifts in the structures of Afghanistan, the program can also assist the people in the short term. Quelling this national program is indeed the most significant blow to the development of Afghanistan. This program does not require so much money. It could be executed with the same expenses as humanitarian projects only if our intention is good and we want to permanently rescue Afghans from poverty and penury.


Comment continued: Look if we assume that 20 million Germans were working and each had a salary of $2 thousand. Each of them had to pay 5 dollars per month, which would be 100 million dollars or euros per month. It means that the Germans paid €100 million per month for the development of their country. Similarly, if 50 Afghani are collected per jerib of land irrigated from such canals, 250 thousand Afghani will be collected from 5000 jerib of land per month, which equals 3 million Afghani in a year. Thus, another canal could be built at the cost of 3 million Afghani. Along this, we must seriously take care of such systems. With regards, Mohammad


As per the following report released by the Ministry of Agriculture and Irrigation on August 11, 2020, two canals have been commissioned in Kunduz, "the Directorate of Agriculture, Irrigation, and Livestock of Kunduz province says that, construction of several irrigation canals have started in this province from which the construction work of two canals have been completed. This directorate says that these two canals are handled, and farmers utilize them. The Directorate of Agriculture of Kunduz Province says that the Kokcha River Water Resources Development Investment Project has started the construction of secondary canals in Kunduz Province. The directorate says, from among the infrastructures under construction, the canals named "Younus" and "Jamali" have been completed and started operations. These canals, which have a total length of 13 kilometers, have been built concretely and fundamentally and can permanently solve the problems of water shortage and distribution among the farmers in its range. The construction cost of these canals is 12 million Afghani, funded by the Asian Development Bank." My purpose for writing this note is that if a canal is built, the local people should take care of it; otherwise, any canal or any other infrastructure will be damaged and destroyed. We should consider how we can use the infrastructure built with the international community's help to build other canals inside the country and in the neighboring villages. We should not always wait f


Excellent, Afghanistan could only be saved from the economic collapse by executing such projects. Changing this situation is not possible with temporary and short-term projects. All donor agencies should be motivated by this project and implement programs that have long-term impacts and form positive change in society and people. Donor countries and organizations should use such projects as a model and only fund projects that strengthen Afghanistan's infrastructure. This is not only my wish, but most of Afghanistan's suffered and oppressed people want this.


Every morning when I come to my office, first I visit the Salaam Times website. I do this because Salaam Times always posts positive news, which keeps me pleased and hopeful during the day. While other media outlets issue reports of war, schism, and bummer, Salaam Times publishes positive and promising news from all over the country that makes us hopeful about the future. Posting such news is also essential for the people to understand that even though the Taliban have taken over Afghanistan and Afghanistan is no longer an active member of the international community, the international community has not forgotten them and it is still working shoulder to shoulder with them. Thanks to the Swedish Committee, UNDP, and other partners for funding and implementing development projects. Also a special thanks to Salaam Times for posting such news.


In addition to publishing positive news, Salaam Times also writes well about the malicious diabolic activities of China, Iran, and Russia. Unfortunately, it has not yet posted anything regarding the sponsorship of terrorism by Pakistan’s Army. Most probably, the Salaam Times website is run by Pakistan's army or intelligence, and the reason is apparent, it never writes anything about Pakistan's hypocrisy against Afghanistan and the world.


Conducting development work is excellent news, but if you look at it from the other side, Afghanistan is going through a bad situation. Recently, the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization and the World Food Program have warned about the emergency in Afghanistan. The agency said on September 21 that by November of this year, around 6 million people in Afghanistan would be in a crisis due to hunger. This organization mentioned Afghanistan in the list of six countries that need urgent aid, and its residents should be saved from the threat of death. If the international community does not cooperate and help Afghanistan in a real sense, then this country will have a humanitarian crisis. There are also families in which most of the men of the family have been killed due to the war, and only the women are left; those women are left with only one guardian, who is also an older man, and they are also sick, and they go through severe hardships in life. Finally, after going through challenging problems, that family goes into such a situation that hurts human feelings. I am thinking about a family with no one to earn for them and severely affected by poverty; no one has asked about their condition nor received any aid. What will they be wearing? How will they further the other affairs of life?