KABUL: After five decades of its inception, finally the Kamal Khan Dam was inaugurated on Wednesday. The mega dam opened in the southwestern Nimroz province, boarding with the neighboring Iran.
Located on the Helmand River in the Chahar Burjak district of Nimroz, the Kamal Khan Dam was planned in the 1960s, but decades of war and the direct Iran’s opposition to the project has hindered its completion.
The dam has 52 million cubic meters capacity and will irrigate 174,000 hectares of land, and it is located 95 kilometers from the city of Zaranj, capital of the province.
The dam is 16 meters high and is intended to irrigate agricultural lands while also preventing flooding in the province.
The construction work on the dam began in 1972, but did not complete due to war. After the collapse of the Taliban regime, the first phase of the dam was completed under President Hamid Karzai’s presidency in 2010. But the frequent attacks once again hindered the construction process that finally opened in 2021.
According to government figures, the dam has been attacked at least 35 times in the past two years and 39 guards were killed in the assaults.
28 more guards were taken hostage by the Taliban and 98 more attacks were prevented against the dam by the Afghan security forces.
The Kamal Khan Dam will help irrigate some 175,000 hectares of land and generate up to nine megawatts of electricity, according to the National Water Affairs Regulation Authority.
It has the potential to “transform the barren land of Nimroz into the food basket of Afghanistan,” the agency’s chief, Khan Mohammad Takal, said at the inauguration.
With a capacity of over 50 million cubic meters, the Kamal Khan Dam is now the second largest in the west, after the Salma Dam, in the neighboring Herat province.
The final phase of the dam’s construction was done by an Afghan-Turkish company at an estimated cost of $78 million, Anadolu Agency reported.