Water reservoir of the Helmand Dam in Afghanistan

Iran Claims Oral Agreement Reached With Taliban On Water Dispute

Saturday, 11/11/2023

An Iranian official has claimed that Tehran reached an oral agreement with the Taliban concerning its water share of the Hirmand River, denied for several months.

The river, known as Helmand in Afghanistan, plays a crucial role in sustaining both Afghanistan and Iran, serving as a vital source for agriculture and drinking water. Despite its significance, the river has been a persistent cause of tension between the two neighboring countries.

Ali Mohammad Tahmasbi, an advisor to the Iranian Environmental Protection Organization, stated that Abdul Ghani Baradar, the Afghan First Deputy Prime Minister for Economic Affairs, assured that as soon as conditions permit, steps would be taken to address the Helmand River issue.

Baradar led an Afghan delegation that visited Tehran last week, engaging in discussions with officials of the Islamic Republic, including Ali Salajegheh, the head of the Iranian Environmental Protection Organization.

According to reports from the Iranian Labor News Agency (ILNA), Tahmasbi emphasized the expectation for the Taliban "not to neglect the release of the Helmand River water share based on principles of good neighborliness and strengthening regional relations."

Iran has accused Afghanistan of obstructing the river's water flow through the construction of dams, an allegation vehemently denied by Afghan authorities. Iranian government officials and environmentalists argue that dam construction on the river exacerbates issues in Iran's eastern regions, particularly in the water-scarce Sistan-Baluchestan province.

The matter of Iran obtaining its rightful share of the water has been a long-standing dispute between Iran and the Afghanistan. However, the disagreements have intensified with the resurgence of the Taliban in Afghanistan, leading to recent disputes between the authorities of the two neighboring nations.

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