Taliban Inaugurates First Phase of Qosh Tepa Canal; Addresses Concerns of Neighbours

Wednesday, 10/11/2023

Senior Taliban officials visited Balkh province on Wednesday to inaugurate the first phase of the Qosh Tepa Canal.

During the inauguration ceremony, the Taliban Defence Minister Mullah Yaqoob said, "Neighbours should not worry, we will never violate the rights of our neighbours in using the water of the Amu Darya."

Media outlets affiliated to the Taliban reported that Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar and Abdul Salam Hanafi, the two deputy prime ministers of the Taliban; Sirajuddin Haqqani, the group’s interior minister; Sher Mohammad Abbas Stanikzai, the deputy foreign minister, and a number of other senior officials of this group also participated in the inauguration ceremony.

Referring to the "concerns of Afghanistan's neighbours" regarding the use of Amu Basin water, Mullah Yaqoob said, "We want to have our rights. That’s why, no one should create an obstacle."

The Taliban’s minister of defence added, "The Qosh Tepa Canal was a dream that became a reality."

Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar, the Taliban’s deputy prime minister for economic affairs, said that the purpose of the construction of the Qosh Tepa canal is not to harm anyone, "rather its only purpose is a proud Afghanistan, the self-sufficiency of Afghans and the use of natural resources in a better way”.

Taliban’s interior minister Sirajuddin Haqqani also said, "After numerous problems, the first phase of the Qosh Tepa Canal has been completed by Afghan engineers."

The Taliban's interior minister added that although the Taliban's existing budget did not suffice for the Qosh Tepa project to be implemented fully, the process is being implemented as a result of the Taliban's "strong will".

Meanwhile, Abdul Salam Hanafi, the Taliban Deputy Prime Minister for Administrative Affairs, emphasised that this group will complete the Qosh Tepa canal work "in any possible way". Hanafi also said that the neighbouring countries should not worry that the Taliban "seems to push the Amu Darya completely [toward the Qosh Tepa Canal]”.

This Taliban official added that the Taliban government respects the rights of its neighbours and urges them to respect the rights of Afghanistan.

Earlier, the president of Uzbekistan warned that the Taliban is building the Qosh Tepa water transfer canal, and this could fundamentally change the water balance in Central Asia.

The Taliban said that more than seven billion Afghanis have been allocated for the construction of the canal and that it will take six years to build it.

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