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Afghan President Ghani Demands Iranian Oil in Exchange for River Water

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani inaugurated the three decade’s long term water project Kamal Khan dam

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Omid Sobhani
Omid Sobhani
Omid Sobhani is a senior journalist at Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) and the Transcontinental Times.

AFGHANISTAN. Nimroz: Afghan President Ashraf Ghani inaugurated the historical Kamal Khan dam on Wednesday in western Nimroz province. The Kamal Khan dam construction project commenced in 1974.

During the inauguration of the dam in Chahar Burjak District, Nimruz Province, Ghani said that Afghanistan still stands on its commitment to providing water to Iran. However, he also added that Afghanistan won’t provide anything more than what was committed to Iran.

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“Afghanistan’s water is its reputation and we won’t give it to anyone for free. Our neighbors should hear that they won’t have our water for free. If you want free water, give free oil.”

“We must use our hidden wealth. Today the control of this dam is owned by us #Afghanistan,” President Ghani said.

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According to Afghan officials, anti-government groups have attacked the dam several times,  killing security guards, and bringing damage to some parts of the project.

“Today, those who are fighting should think about Kamal Khan Dam for a few minutes,” President Ghani said, adding that those who are fighting have deprived Afghans of hundreds of dams.

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The Kamal Khan dam in the Chahar Burjak district of the Nimroz has a 52 million cubic meters capacity and is expected to irrigate 174,000 hectares of agricultural lands in the province, besides preventing sudden floods.

The 16 meters dam will provide nine megawatts of power. According to the National Water Affairs Regulation Authority, the first stage will store 52 million cubic meters of water.

Photo Credit: Afghanistan Presidential Palace

Also Read: The US Warns Afghan President Over Future Peace Settlement

Peace talks

Meanwhile, at the side of the inauguration ceremony, Ghani signaled his current stance on any future peace settlement, and peace plans proposed by the United States.

“Papers, Plans, and rumors are coming, but Afghanistan will remain independent,” he said.

Recently, the US proposed a draft plan for Afghan peace that was shared with political leaders. The draft outlines a roadmap toward an end to violence and a formula for a future government. The US plan for Afghanistan proposed a transitional government. The draft noted that when the term of a proposed transitional government ends, the future leader of Afghanistan will be elected through a popular vote.

Blinken in a sharply-worded letter to President Ghani outlined four suggestions to speed up the peace process, including convening an UN-led conference with international stakeholders, in Turkey between both the war the Afghan parties to finalize a peace accord.

However, along with these proposals, Blinken stressed that the US is considering all options regarding Afghanistan, including the May 1 deadline for full withdrawal.


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