Pakistan concerned over plan to build dams on Kabul River

Pakistan is apparently concerned over plan to build a dozen dams on Kabul River that potentially drops water flow to the neighboring country.

President Ashraf Ghani has said that 21 dams will be built in the near future in Afghanistan, but no official details have been released over the plan.


On Sunday, a Pakistani newspaper claimed that Afghanistan with the help of Indian experts completed the feasibilities and detailed engineering of 12 hydro-power projects along Kabul River with capacity to generate 1,177MW of electricity. Four dams would be built on Pansjhir sub-basin while the remaining eight would be built on upper and lower Kabul sub-basins.

The report comes a day after India inaugurated Friendship Dam or Salma Dam in western Herat province.

Citing documents, Pakistani paper The News said that the hydro-power projects would cost $7,079 billion and would be funded by World Bank and with assistance from India. The total storage capacity of the dams would be around 4.7 million acre feet.


“Afghanistan has the right to utilize water from the river l as the total flow of Kabul river is 21,000 million cubic meter. But the river Kunar, which contributes 15,000 million cubic meter to the river Kabul, originates from Pakistan,” according to the report.

“In the absence of major dams in Pakistan, it is feared that Pakistan will have to buy electricity from Afghanistan, which is the underlying purpose of the above mentioned plan of the Afghan government in collaboration with India.”

Syed Mehr Ali Shah, a senior official in Pakistan’s Ministry of Water and Power, said Afghanistan could utilize 2.5 million acre feet water for irrigation purposes at the maximum from the river.

The official said that Pakistan has committed water flows of river Kabul of 16-17 million acre feet out of which 8-8.5 million acre feet comes from the river Chitral which generates from Pakistan.

“No doubt it is the failure of the authorities and political leadership of not building the Kalabagh Dam and Munda Dam, but if the said dams are not built, even then Pakistan’s water uses of river Kabul are established and Pakistan’s case is very strong if needed to move any international forum,” he said.

He claimed Pakistan has the right to utilize 17 million acre feet water from Kabul River

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