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Not Begging for Aid, Afghan Government Goes Ahead with Great Water Projects

Nov. 13, 2022 (EIRNS)—Afghanistan is a country where “water means food.” Not waiting for international help, fully committed to overcoming the current economic breakdown, unemployment crisis and food crisis, the Afghan government is going ahead with several major large, medium and small water infrastructure projects, mainly via Afghanistan’s giant state construction group “National Development Company” (NDC).

In August, NDC said it has launched 692 projects worth 112 billion afghanis in the country in the past year. Speaking at a press conference as part of the government’s annual accountability program, Abdul Wali Adil, deputy head of the National Development Corporation for financial and administrative affairs, confirmed that it is involved in water resource management, as well as in agriculture, construction and manufacturing. He said that the corporation completed 81 projects including 55 in the construction sector over the past year. NDC also said that 1.22 billion afghanis has been paid to contractors.

Qosh Tepa Canal, Namak Ab reservoir, Tarak wa Khoshak canal, and Machalgu dam irrigation canal are among the major projects launched by the National Development Corporation this year, he said. The largest project is the Qosh Tepa Canal in northern Balkh province. The canal—280 km long and 100 meters wide—will irrigate 500,000 hectares in Balkh, Jawzjan and Faryab provinces. Work on the project would be completed at a cost of 60 billion afghanis ($680 million) within five years.

The canal has the capacity of carrying 650 cubic meters/second of water and it would resolve the water shortage issue. Local officials in Balkh province say already 42 km of the project have been constructed, between the Qosh Tepa area and the Daulatabad district. Mawlavi Abdul Hakeem Hikmat, head of the Northern River Zone, said 120 private companies and around 2,300 people were involved in the construction of the canal.

Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid said wheat production will increase dramatically in the north once the canal is completed. “By achieving the goals set for this project, Afghanistan will become self-sufficient in terms of wheat,” he said. At the launch ceremony in the Kaldar district in Balkh Province, Afghan First Deputy Prime Minister Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar said that the completion of the canal is a national priority. “The country will reach self-sufficiency in agriculture after the construction of the canal,” he was quoted by the April 3 issue of Kabul Times. He further stated back then that Afghanistan will not beg for help from other countries, and that a country cannot be developed through aid.

“This is a matter of happiness, today, that we inaugurate the Qosh Tepa water canal project. With the completion of this essential project, our need for agricultural products would be largely solved,” he was quoted as saying at the canal’s March 30 inauguration ceremony by Xinhua.

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