Monday, June 17, 2024

Iranian military official in Kabul amid dispute over water rights

A senior Iranian military official has travelled to the Afghan capital, Kabul, for talks with caretaker Taliban authorities, amid tensions between the two sides over Tehran’s water rights from the Helmand River.

Afghanistan’s interim defense ministry reported that an Iranian delegation, led by Bahram Hosseini Motlagh, the head of the Planning and Operations Department of the General Staff of the Armed Forces of Iran, held talks with Haji Mali Khan Seddigh, the deputy chief of staff of Taliban’s army, in Kabul, and his companions.

During the talks, the report said, the Afghan side said it sought “good relations with Iran and was committed to neighborly cooperation in different areas”.

The Iranian delegation, in turn, stressed Iran’s determination to forge good ties with Afghanistan, it added.

Tehran and Kabul have been locked in a row over the latter’s refusal to allow Iran access to its share of water from the Helmand River in violation of a 1973 treaty.

As per the provisions of the treaty, Afghanistan is bound to release 820 million cubic meters of water from the river annually, but Iranian authorities have repeatedly said that Kabul has been withholding its share.

Earlier this week, Iran delivered a stern warning to Afghanistan against withholding Iran’s water rights, cautioning the Taliban that they will be responsible for the repercussions of their refusal.

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