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Kamal Khan Dam and insecurity

The much needed Kamal Khan Dam is becoming a lost cause. The reason is obvious. And the reason is insecurity. But perhaps the more blameworthy is the office concerned. The ministry of energy and water (MoEW) says that construction work over the dam is underway but insecurity was hampering it. Insecurity is there all over the country? So, on the basis of insecurity, all the developmental projects must be ceased or slowed down? The MoEW vented security concerns in Nimroz province where the dam is located. Why the concerned departments are failing in providing security to the dam and the construction workers? Wais-ur-Reham, the technical advisor for hydropower projects in the MoEW, told this paper that the dam has come under attacks by militants many times, which hampered construction works. This is a biggest national loss. If the government is failing in providing security to the dam, then the people of the province particularly of the locality must gird up their loins and do something on their own and ensure security there as the dam has the capacity to provide one million jobs. And who will benefit from the project? The first one will be those of the province and then others. The country needs energy. To keep the pace of development, we need energy. Until our natural resources including waters remain untapped, we cannot develop as a nation and we will remain dependent on international community. We will ever remain hit by international conspiracies and games as usually international aid doesn’t come in free rather it brings some curses as well. For instance, the USSR used to give us aid but it earned us foes. Now the US is giving us aid but it has earned us more foes. When we will build our own base for development, we will not need aid rather we will be seeking trade with the world.  However, what is worth lamentation is that the dam has come under attack for several times and the insurgents have seized some police posts in the area, but security policymakers and the center have not moved yet. This slackness has cost us too dear. The interior ministry should be the first one to think of providing security to the dam and its construction workers. And if it cannot then the ministry of defense must come to the fore. Completing this project is a must. The government cannot sit idly while wrenching its hands because leaving the project prone to militant attacks is throwing the national economic development at the feet of the militants. Another major power supply project is the Kajaki Dam, located in the volatile Helmand province, the hotbed of the Taliban and a biggest producer of opium. This is too unfortunate that most of our waters are not utilized for energy production. Though many of the government officials, political and economic affairs analysts lament the loss of our natural resources, but no one is taking practical steps to ensure the utilization of our water resources. The government didn’t make serious efforts to utilize water and other natural resources for power generation whereas many of us are blaming Iran and Pakistan for using our waters. Given that we take some steps then we wouldn’t blame others. The fault is ours. When it comes to reconstruction and investment in Afghanistan, besides the United States—a key donor and player, China, India and Iran have played an effective role as the largest venture in mineral sector is Mes Aynak, a Chinese project, estimated to be worth around US$3.5 billion, to develop one of the world’s biggest copper deposits. And when there is a multilateral project where various sets of regional states are involved, they not only provide economic opportunities but also help in defusing political disputes as well. Let’s hope CASA-1000 will be one among such multilateral project. Since 2001, Afghanistan has been attracting international investment and given that we increase our energy productions, improve security situation more and more foreign investment could be enticed. However, providing security to infrastructure projects is a must.

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