Official: Taliban divert Hirmand water, deny Iran’s right

The Taliban rulers have followed in the footsteps of the previous administration in Afghanistan and have deprived Iran of its share of water from the Hirmand River, an Iranian official says.

Director of the Office for Wetlands at the Department of Environment, Arezoo Ashrafizadeh, said the Taliban have reneged on their promise to release the share of water for the Hamoun wetland in Iran’s southeastern Sistan and Baluchestan Province and have diverted it to the Godzareh depression, virtually wasting the water.

Iran and Afghanistan have had heated disputes over their water share from the river, with Iran saying the Taliban rulers in Afghanistan are withholding its share.

Construction of dams over the Hirmand River, known as Helmand in Afghanistan, has violated a 1973 treaty by heavily restricting the flow of water to Iran.

Hamoun is the largest freshwater lake in Iran, directly linked to the biodiversity in Sistan and Baluchestan and the people’s livelihood in the province.

Iranian officials have warned in case Hamoun dries up, both Iran and Afghanistan will suffer the consequences as it will cause problems such as sand and dust storms.

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