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Water dispute

Afghanistan is very unfortunate when it comes to nature and behavior of its neighbors. All the major neighboring countries are continuously interfering in the country. They pretend that they are Kabul’s friends, but never give up stabbing it in back. The former Soviet Union invaded Afghanistan in 1979 and left many Afghans dead and injured. This neighboring country which claimed to be our friend left thousands of landmines behind. Russian landmines are killing and maiming more Afghans than natural disasters. Likewise, Pakistan is godfather to the Taliban, Haqqani network and several other militant organizations. During Afghan civil war, Pakistani civilian and military establishments tried to hoist their national flag in Jalalabad as part of Islamabad’s adventurist and expansionist policy. Promises made by Pakistan regarding the Afghan-owned peace process were made of puff.

Therefore, Afghans are not pinning hopes on Islamabad. However, China is also engaged in backdoor diplomacy to forge an alleged alliance with the Afghan insurgents against Daesh. Media reports suggest that Taliban delegation visited China in July 2016. Both parties have good relations now because details of the last year’s meeting were not made public by Beijing. Our neighbor in west, Iran, is also providing support to Afghan militants. Once the Taliban and Tehran were arch rivals.

Iran has become a dubious friend and neighbor. Media reports and ground observations suggest involvement of Tehran in Afghan insurgency. On Tuesday, local media reported that Iran is supporting the Taliban to divert attention of Kabul from Helmand River water which is feeding the barren fields in Iran near Afghan border.

Briefing newsmen in Lashkargah, Helmand’s governor Hayatullah Hayat said that for the past four years, Iran has accelerated efforts to forge an alliance with the Afghan militant outfit. In other words, Tehran has increased its support to the insurgent group in order to continue insurgency in the volatile province. The governor said that Afghan security forces seized made-in Iran weapons in Helmand. According to the governor, the government’s increased attention towards Kajaki dam in Helmand and Kamal Khan Dam in Nimroz sent a wave of panic to Iran. Provincial council member, Attaullah Afghan has also backed statement of the governor. He said Iran is continuously supporting the militant outfit in Helmand to create law and order situation in the province. This is aimed to keep the water dispute unresolved because Iran already sees herself at the losing end in future talks.

The two countries have disputes over water for long. Therefore, Iran is using militancy in Afghanistan as a tool to divert attention of Afghan government from this important issue. Insurgency in southern parts of the country is helping Tehran.

To address this serious issue, Kabul should resolve the dispute through diplomatic channels. In addition to that, the government should accelerate pace of construction work on the Kajaki and Kamal Khan dams to turn barren Afghan lands into meadows and fields that would produce bumper crops.


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