Construction of major canal in northern Afghanistan worries Uzbekistan

Uzbekistan President Shavkat Mirziyoyev raised concerns about the Taliban’s move to construct a major canal project in northern Afghanistan.

He said the Qosh Tepa canal in Afghanistan could “radically” change the water regime and balance in Central Asia.

Speaking at the fifth Consultative Meeting of Central Asian Heads of State, Mirziyoyevsaid a new stakeholder in the water use process has appeared in the region, a country “which is not bound by any obligations with our countries.”

He also suggested the establishment of a joint working group to study all aspects of the construction of the Qosh Tepa canal and its impact on the water regime of the Amu Darya with the involvement of research institutes of Central Asian countries.

Uzbekistan is one the few countries which has good relations with the current regime under the Taliban in Afghanistan.

After the Taliban took over Afghanistan, many senior Uzbek delegations traveled to Afghanistan.

The special representative of the president of Uzbekistan for Afghanistan, Ismatullah Irgashev, meanwhile visited Kabul recently and met with senior members of the Taliban over various issues including the canal.

However, he highlighted his visits to Afghanistan were efforts to prevent border tensions with the Taliban.

The Qosh Tepa canal will divert water from the Amu Darya river for irrigation. It will go through Balkh, Jawzjan and Faryab provinces.

The fifth Consultative Meeting of Central Asian Heads of State, was also attended by the Presidents of Tajikistan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Turkmenistan.

While highlighting the region’s commitment to peace and sustainable development over the past five years, Tajik President Emomali Rahmon, at the summit on Friday, voiced his country’s concerns about increased terrorist activity from inside Afghanistan’s borders.