Afghanistan says it plans to construct 20 more dams in face of warnings that the move could undermine life in some of its neighboring countries, specifically Iran.
Afghanistan’s Energy and Water Ministry in a statement said the new dams would be large and medium-sized, and that they would be mostly constructed in southern and western provinces.
The Ministry said that the projects were still pending the final approval of the National Procurement Authority (NPA).
Nevertheless, it added that preparations were underway to start the Kafkan, Tirpol and Pashdam dam projects in the western province of Herat along the Harirod River.
“We continue our efforts to build the dams based on our plans. We have done a lot in this field and a lot has remained to be done,” Basir Azimi, the spokesman of Afghanistan’s Energy and Water Ministry was quoted as saying by Tolo news agency.
Last year, the Salma Dam was completed in Herat – which was one of the government’s key dam projects.
In addition to this, the second phase of Kajaki dam in Helmand, the last phase of Kamal Khan dam in Nimroz and Bakhshabad Dam in Farah are under construction, Tolo news agency added.
Herat, Farah and Helmand are three provinces where a significance number of rivers that flow toward Pakistan and Iran are sourced.
Among them, the Helmand River may be among the most important ones, particularly for Iran.
Its waters are essential for farmers in Afghanistan, but it feeds into Lake Hamun and is also important to farmers in Iran’s southeastern Sistan and Baluchistan province.
Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani earlier criticized Afghanistan’s certain dam construction projects.
During his speech at an international forum on dust storms, Rouhani emphasized that the construction of dams in Afghanistan would undermine life in Iran’s Sistan and Baluchistan – as well as Khorasan.
He specifically warned that not only Iran but also Afghanistan, itself, as well as other neighbors would suffer if the Hamoun Lake went dry.
“People would be forced to migrate and civilizations would be destroyed,” Rouhani warned. “It is the responsibility of all to prevent this dangerous threat.”