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Thursday 25 March 2021

Ghani Inaugurated Kamal Khan Dam

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KABUL (Barkhtar News Agency) — The President of Afghanistan, Mohammad Ashraf Ghani, who has arrived in Nimroz, inaugurated the Kamal Khan Dam on Wednesday.

Mohammad Ashraf Ghani, accompanied by two vice presidents, attended a rally to inaugurate the Kamal Khan Dam.

Kamal Khan Dam located in 18 km south of Zaranj city, the centre of Nimroz is built along the Helmand River. It has a storage capacity of 52 m³ of water.

Kamal Khan Dam will irrigate more than 184,000 hectares of land and generate more than 9 MW of electricity.

The Hamouns are transboundary wetlands on the Iran-Afghanistan border made up of three lakes: Hamoun-e Helmand, which is entirely in Iran, Hamoun-e Sabari on the border, and Hamoun-e Puzak, almost entirely inside Afghanistan. The three lakes are linked and fed by water from the Helmand River which starts in the Hindu Kush Mountains in Afghanistan.

During the inauguration of Kamal Khan Dam, President Ghani stressed the implementation of the Helmand Water Treaty but said Afghanistan would no longer give free water to anyone, so Iran should provide fuel to Afghans in exchange for water. Flowing more water than what has been mentioned in the accord is based on something in return, he said. “Iran can get more water if it gives oil in return”, he added.

However, Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Saeed Khatibzadeh said on Wednesday that the Helmand River has defined a specific water right for Iran as per the treaty which was signed by the two sides in 1973, and the government of Afghanistan is committed to the water right.

Of course, Afghanistan pays attention to the issue of protecting Hamoun wetlands and the need to supply them with their water right, he stressed. “Drying up the Hamouns will lead to serious threats, including sand and dust storm for people in both countries.”

Masoud Tajrishi, deputy head of the Iranian Department of Environment (DOE), has said the construction of Kamal Khan Dam in Afghanistan has caused Hamoun wetlands to dry up and generate sand and dust hotspots. The DOE has called on the Iranian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Ministry of Energy to pay serious attention to the environmental issues of wetlands in the talks with the neighbouring country, as it affects Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iran, and the Persian Gulf littoral countries, so the dust problem is entirely a regional issue, he explained.

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