English News

  • youtube
  • facebook
  • twitter

Taliban attacks check post near Salma dam–a symbol of India-Afghanistan friendship

Proof India-Afghanistan cordial relations, the Salma Dam (Pic: Courtesy spmrf.org)

The Taliban has killed 16 security men in an attack at the check post  near the India-Afghanistan friendship Salma dam in Afghanistan’s Herat province, Afghan news agency Khaama press reported. .

According to the report, the attacked check post is  around 15 kilometers  from the dam site. The Taliban has targeted the heavily guarded Salma Dam, located 165km east of Herat, in several previous attacks. It is guarded by  many security posts. So far, both the Taliban and the Afghan government  have not commented on the matter but previously the insurgent group had said that there was no plan to demolish the Salma Dam.

Salma Dam, also known as the Afghan-India Friendship dam, was inaugurated by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Afghan President Ashraf Ghani in June 2016. The Afghan-India Friendship Dam in Herat province, which borders Iran, is the biggest dam in western Afghanistan, built to bring power and irrigation to vast tracts of the war-torn country.

Also Read: Pakistan’s great betrayal in Afghanistan—Bagram airbase pull out is the first step

The Rs 1,700-crore project, constructed  by India on river Chist-e-Sharif, irrigates 75,000 hectares of land and generates 42MW of power. The dam is connected by a 150-km dirt road to Herat. Nearest human habitation is also at least 50 km away from the project site. However, braving all odds and in extremely difficult conditions, the workers and Indian engineers  stayed on location for years to complete the work.

The dam, originally built in western Herat province in 1976 before being damaged during the civil wars of the 1990s, was rebuilt by some 1,500 Indian and Afghan engineers, according to the Indian Ministry of External Affairs.

"It is a symbol of our friendship and would usher in hope, light up homes, nourish the fertile fields of Heart and bring prosperity to the people of the region,"  PM Modi had said while inaugurating the dam.

India has poured more than $3 billion into Afghanistan reconstruction projects and humanitarian aid, making it one of the largest donors to the war-torn country.

This year in February, India and Afghanistan had signed an agreement for the construction of the Shahtoot dam near the capital city, which aims to provide safe drinking water to 2 million people in Kabul and supplement irrigation facilities in Afghanistan.

Also Read: Will Taliban keep promise to preserve Afghanistan’s ancient historical sites?

Now the situation has changed and with the withdrawal of the US forces, the Taliban is aggressively and violently pursuing its goal to capture Kabul.

For New Delhi, which is closely watching the situation, a major concern is the breakout of a possible civil war engulfing the government, the Taliban and various warlords the are likely to emerge during the much anticipated volatile period ahead.