Uzbekistan ready to help Taliban in building Qosh Tepa canal project

Uzbekistan ready to help Taliban in building Qosh Tepa canal, says Mullah Baradar

A delegation led by the Special Representative of the President of the Republic of Uzbekistan on foreign policy issues, Abdulaziz Kamilov, met Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar, the Taliban’s deputy prime minister for economic affairs, on Wednesday in Kabul.

In addition to Baradar, the Uzbek delegation also met Taliban’s foreign and defence ministers, Amir Khan Muttaqi and Yaqob Mujaid, and other officials of the group in Kabul, according to a statement issued by the Ministry of Foreign Affair of Uzbekistan.

“During the talks, parties discussed the issues of expanding bilateral trade and economic ties, increasing the volume of transportation of various cargoes, including transit through the territory of Afghanistan,” part of the statement reads.

Baradar’s office issued a separate statement, saying that the Uzbek side has expressed readiness to cooperate with the Taliban government in completing Qosh Tepa canal project by “taking the right to water from the Amu River” in accordance with the international norms.

In response, Baradar has said that the project will strengthen bilateral relations between the two countries and emphasized on the Taliban’s readiness to carry out the project.

Uzbekistan foreign ministry has not commented about the water supply project in its statement.

Construction of a railway connecting Uzbek’s town of Termez through Afghanistan to Peshawar in Pakistan and a powerline along the Surkhan-Puli-Khumri route were also considered at the meeting between the Taliban and Uzbek delegation, the Uzbek foreign ministry said.

Qosh Tepa is a water supply project which is supposed to divert water from Amu Darya for irrigation to adjacent districts in Afghanistan through a canal of 285 km in length and 100 meters in width.

Some experts believe the completion of this project will lead to increase in cross-border violence over water as it will divert a significant amount of the Amu River, streaming along the border with Uzbekistan, into Afghanistan.