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Afghanistan: Taliban reaches agreement with Iran over Helmand River rights

An aerial view from a medevac helicopter shows the Helmand river Helmand province on November 8, 2011. Around 140,000 international troops are serving in Afghanistan, mostly from the United States, helping Afghan government forces fight a bloody, Taliban-led insurgency. AFP PHOTO/ BEHROUZ MEHRI (Photo credit should read BEHROUZ MEHRI/AFP via Getty Images)
An aerial view from a medevac helicopter shows the Helmand river Helmand province on November 8, 2011 [BEHROUZ MEHRI/AFP via Getty Images]

The Taliban government in Afghanistan has agreed to resupply Iran with water from the Helmand River as per the 1973 Helmand Water Agreement, Iranian Energy Minister Ali Akbar Mehrabian said on Thursday.

"The construction of additional parts at the Kamal Khan Dam, 70 kilometres from the Iranian border, has deprived the residents of the regions along the border with Afghanistan of their rights to water from the Helmand, as it has been directed to a remote area," explained Mehrabian. "This construction took place according to a colonial plan. Water can now be taken from the river after getting rid of the problems of the colonial project."

The Iranian minister announced that the Taliban has agreed not to direct water to the additional parts of the dam in question so as to ensure Iran's rights to water along the border.

READ: Qatar calls on Washington and the Taliban to preserve the Doha Accord

Iran's Foreign Minister Hossein Amir Abdollahian spoke to his Afghan counterpart last month. He told Amir Khan Mottaqi about the "negative effects" on Iranian-Afghan relations if Tehran does not secure its right to water from the Helmand River.

"Given the recent rains and flowing waters in the Helmand River, we hope that there will be no artificial obstacles to the flow of water to the Islamic Republic," the official news agency IRNA quoted Abdollahian as saying. "If the issue of Iran's share of the Helmand River is not resolved quickly and seriously, this will have negative effects in other areas of cooperation between the two countries."

For decades, Iran and Afghanistan have been locked in a dispute over water shares from the Helmand and Harirud rivers which originate in Afghan territory.

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