Photo: Fars News

Taliban agrees to let Iran inspect Kajaki Dam and Helmand River, Iranian ambassador says

The Iranian Special Representative and Ambassador to Afghanistan, Hassan Kazemi Qomi, has said that the Taliban has agreed to allow an Iranian technical team to visit the Kajaki Dam and inspect the water level of the Helmand River.

According to the Iranian state news agency, IRIB, Qomi said on Saturday that the Iranian delegation is expected to visit the dam in the next 15 days. “We have reached agreements that our experts will visit the area and lay the groundwork for the release of this water.”

Referring to the Taliban’s argument that drought prevents the water from reaching Iran, the Iranian ambassador said that the claim needs to be verified. The Taliban’s acceptance of an Iranian inspection was a “positive step forward”, he said.

“The circumstances are progressing in a way that if there is water, Iran will receive its rightful share. The Taliban have acknowledged this,” Qomi added in a part of his interview.

The Taliban has not commented. However, the group has repeatedly affirmed their commitment to the 1973 water treaty, while citing the seasonal drought as the reason behind the water not reaching Iran. Iran has long complained about the commitment not being fulfilled.

Earlier in May, the Iranian President, Ebrahim Raisi, warned the Taliban to take Iran’s concerns “very seriously”. “I am issuing a warning to the rulers of Afghanistan, that they should immediately give the water rights of the people of Sistan and Baluchistan. You should take my words very seriously so that you won’t complain later.” Raisi warned the Taliban.

Iran’s water rights over the Helmand River have long been a point of dispute between Iran and Afghanistan. In a treaty signed in 1973, Afghanistan committed to the flow of twenty-two cubic meters of water per second into Iran.