NATO in Afghanistan – Ismail Khan visits Dahla Dam in Kandahar province

He once escaped from a Taliban prison in Kandahar,
but recently the Afghan Minister for Energy and Water revisited the
province to inspect one of the more important projects in his portfolio, the Dahla Dam. “Dahla Dam is Afghanistan’s second largest
dam. Eighty percent of Kandaharis live along the irrigation system. Since it was built
in the 1950s, few repairs have been made and the shortage of water has significantly slowed
down the local economy.” Three years ago however, Canada opted to invest
fifty million dollars to refurbish the dam and its irrigation system. Part of this funding
has gone into building a diversion weir which has enabled water to reach many more households. “Water from this river and into the irrigation
system failed to make it all the way to the end of the canal system. At this point in
time, after the rehabilitation of about fifty five percent of the main canal, we already
see water flowing to the very ends of the system. So essentially what we have is water
making it to more farms and more farmers using it to grow.” This water flows from the Arghandab River,
passing through areas which have seen a lot of fighting in recent years as the Taliban
try to retake their spiritual homeland of Kandahar. The refurbishment of the dam and irrigation
system has created nearly three thousand jobs. The Minister says it’s helping to counter
the insurgency. “One of the reasons we have insecurity in
Afghanistan is unemployment and we know that by projects such as this, people will be provided
with jobs and this dam will end the problems of the farmers where the farmers don’t have
enough water, when they get the water they will be able to start growing again.” Ismael Khan hasn’t taken too many trips
to the south of the country. He was governor of the western province of Herat but was forced
to flee after the Taliban gained power in 1995. After that he became one of the leaders
of the Northern Alliance and then re-took his post in Herat once the Taliban fell until
becoming Minister of Energy and Water in 2005. “This will help the relationship between
the people and the government because one of the big problems we have particularly in
this area, people are under the impression the central government and local government
are not very much helping the people despite all these things that are happening they think
it’s not enough, it’s not sufficient.” Some of that sentiment was expressed by a
local government official who asked the Minister to provide money to build a wall to stop the
annual flooding which, he says, destroys thousands of farms. He also complained about a lack
of electricity. No equipment has ever been installed to produce
power from the Dahla Dam but plans are being discussed to build a second dam upstream to
generate hydro electric power. It’s safe to say Ismael Khan left with a
better appreciation of the dam rehabilitation project.
He says he’s already pressing Kabul to prioritise the area’s development.
The Kandaharis who depend on it, can only hope the government delivers.
Mel Preen in Afghanistan for the NATO Channel.

4 thoughts on “NATO in Afghanistan – Ismail Khan visits Dahla Dam in Kandahar province


  2. Afghanistan government superpower India government superpower partnership will be make Afghanistan a better place for Afghan people by building more Dams in Afghanistan it will make the Indian and the Afghan partnership more stronger long live Afghanistan and India Love from USA

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