HERAT CITY (Pajhwok): Accompanied by a number of local officials, the governor of western Herat province on Tuesday visited Pashdam Dam following a Pajhwok Afghan News report about high security threats to the dam.
Governor Sayed Wahid Qatali, who visited the dam in Pashdan village of Karokh district, said that 60 percent work on construction of the dam had been completed and work on the remaining parts was underway.
He assured security of the dam and said any threats to the project would be removed with the help of Afghan security forces.
Qatali’s statements on the dam’s security comes after Taliban recently sent a letter to the dam’s officials and said the project has not been inked with their mediation, therefore work it should be stopped.
Taliban military in-charge for Karokh district has written to the district chief that security personnel discharging duty at the dam site, drivers and project engineers would not be safe if Taliban’s order is violated.
Another document available with Pajhwok Afghan News shows the Taliban have asked officials of the dam to provide one percent of ten — known as Ushar — and when their demand was declined, the Taliban issued them warnings and death threat.
Reports show Taliban have started patrolling villages of Chahar Burjak, Abgarmak, Morcha Khwan, Khairabad, Surkhrod, Chaghmaq, Anbar Jandah Khawan, Ali Afghan, Rabat Surkh, Salehabad and Dezak in recent days and have been trying to put pressure on security personnel protecting the project.
However, the Herat governor stressed that Afghan forces would protect the dam from threats even with their lives.
Qatali said some groups and figures tried to slow down work on the project through their propagandas and rumors.
Mohammad Hamid Samad, manager of Pashdan Dam project, also said that the project was 60 percent complete. The project which will cost $117 million will be fully completed until the end of 2021 if there is no threat during the construction process, he said.
The Pashdan Dam is situated 20 kilometres east of Herat City in Karokh district. Work on the project was kicked off in 2011 and was expected to be completed in three years but due to uncertainty, the project was not completed in due time and suffered delay and stoppage of work.
According to local officials, the Pashdan Dam is being constructed at the converging point of three rivers — the Karokh, Syah Ab and Seer Ab. This will have the capacity to store 54 million cubic water, irrigate 13,000 hectares of land and generate 2MW electricity and the site would become a tourist spot.