Afghanistan still opposed to Dasu Dam construction

Published: April 16, 2014
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Last month, Afghanistan’s National Security Council opposed the construction of Dasu hydropower project, saying it would be against the principles of joint rivers. ILLUSTRATION: JAMAL KHURSHID

Last month, Afghanistan’s National Security Council opposed the construction of Dasu hydropower project, saying it would be against the principles of joint rivers. ILLUSTRATION: JAMAL KHURSHID

ISLAMABAD: Afghanistan has insisted that it has not withdrawn objections to the Dasu Dam – a project Pakistan plans to build on the Indus River at an estimated cost of nearly $7.5 billion and expected to produce 4,300 megawatts of electricity.

Afghanistan’s foreign ministry on Tuesday rejected the remarks made by Pakistani ministers that Kabul had withdrawn its opposition to the dam, which would have serious negative environmental repercussions for Afghanistan.

“I reject as completely baseless the statement made by Pakistan’s Minister of Water and Power Khawaja Asif that Afghanistan has abandoned its opposition to the Dasu Dam,” Afghan foreign ministry spokesman Ahmed Shakaib Mustaghni said in a weekly briefing in Kabul.

“We still have reservations about the dam and all institutions concerned in Afghanistan are studying its impact on the country,” Mustaghni said, according to a statement available with The Express Tribune.

Last month, Afghanistan’s National Security Council opposed the construction of Dasu hydropower project, saying it would be against the principles of joint rivers.

The council meeting, presided over by President Hamid Karzai, claimed that the dam was being built on the Kabul-Indus River.

Khawaja Asif and Finance Minister Ishaq Dar had earlier stated that Kabul had withdrawn its objection when Afghan officials were informed that the Dasu Dam would be built on the Indus River and had nothing to do with Afghanistan.

Afghanistan had also urged the World Bank and other international lenders to stop funding for the project unless its concerns were addressed. It claimed that Pakistan neither informed Afghanistan about the project through diplomatic channels nor was any agreement signed between the two countries.

Pakistan has already approached the World Bank, seeking the start of approval process for a $700 million loan for the 4,320MW project, according to sources in the Ministry of Finance. Construction work is expected to start this year.

Officials say the feasibility study and detailed engineering design of the project have already been completed. The government has cleared the project and the Central Development Working Party (CDWP) has constituted a committee to rationalise its cost.

Ground-breaking ceremony will be held on May 15, where Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif will kick off construction work.

Published in The Express Tribune, April 16th, 2014.

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Reader Comments (9)

  • Chachoo
    Apr 16, 2014 - 4:21AM

    Dasu Dam have nothing to do with Afghanistan and Pakistan should not bow to any pressure exerted by our insincere neighbor. The Dam and its inflows all lie in Pakistan but we all know the antagonism portrayed by Afghans time and again.
    Also somebody should tell Afghan officials that Google maps is pretty handy and there is a difference in Kabul and Indus river and Dasu Dam is being built on Indus and Indus have nothing to do with Afghanistan.

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  • Fareed
    Apr 16, 2014 - 4:45AM

    Pakistani officials issue a statement on their behalf and then another statement on their neighbours behalf… Do they know what they are donig…

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  • Khan
    Apr 16, 2014 - 12:23PM

    YES we do, all the time India is building dams on our joint water ways, this affects the water flowing into Pakistan.

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  • Khan
    Apr 16, 2014 - 12:44PM

    @Chachoo, many thanks for pointing out the facts correctly.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Indus_River

    As can been seen the Indus river flows within Pakistan.

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  • King
    Apr 16, 2014 - 5:25PM

    You can choose your friends but you cannot choose your neighbours – you have to live with who you get.

    If it is true that the contstruction of this dam will be disadvantageous to Afghanistan, we should not build it. After all, the people of Afghanistan are Muslim and as a Muslim country, we should watch out for the welfare of not only Palestinian and Chechen Muslims but also Afghan Muslims.Recommend

  • Pakistani
    Apr 16, 2014 - 6:10PM

    @King:
    what about Pakistan Muslims? dear afghanis are all just greedy and thankless people generally speaking. A very few have ghariat of saying thanks.

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  • Khan
    Apr 16, 2014 - 8:57PM

    @King, everyone has the right to produce electricity in there own country. Afghan always stick a rock in it when it comes to progress of Pakistan. Please afghan build your own dams in your own rivers and stop interfering with our development. Pakistan Zindabad

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  • Siraj
    Apr 17, 2014 - 10:10PM

    Why river is still named INDUS?

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  • yunus
    Apr 18, 2014 - 11:59AM

    Historically, Agfghanis are a selfish nation. One does not find any reason for their protest against this project except that they should be doing this to please Indians.This is height of ingratitude. They must take all Afghanis back before they speak a word against Pakistan.

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