On Saturday, August 6 the Iranian president’s special representative on Afghan affairs, Hassan Kazemi Qomi, announced that the Taliban had finally released waters held behind a dam on the Helmand river into Iran’s Sistan and Baluchistan province.
The remarks have been met with incredulity by the MP for Zabul, Habibollah Dehmardeh. In an interview with Rokna News, Deh Marda said that far from honoring long-standing water-sharing commitments, the Taliban’s hand had been forced by the recent floods.
“The volume of water released into Iran was less than a million cubic meters,” Dehmardeh said. “Meanwhile, last year the Taliban did deliberately release a one billion cubic meters of water towards the salt marshes [in Afghanistan, on the border with Iran].”
The agreement between Iran and Afghanistan is that the latter will provide Iran with 820 million cubic meters of water from the Helmand each year.
So far this Persian calendar year, Dehmardeh said, the Taliban given Iran 4 million cubic meters in April – and that was it. “Even now with the new inflow, it’s not even 1 percent [of the agreed quantity],” he said.