KANDAHAR: The Taliban have taken control of Afghanistan’s second-largest dam after months of battle in their former stronghold of Kandahar, insurgents and officials said Thursday.
According to local officials, the Dahla Dam, which provides irrigation to farmers through a network of canals as well as drinking water to the provincial capital, is now under Taliban jurisdiction. “We have taken control of the Dahla Dam in Arghandab,” said Taliban spokesman Qari Yousuf Ahmadi to AFP.
Haji Gulbuddin, governor of a neighbouring district, announced that the dam is now “under Taliban control.” “Our security forces… requested reinforcements, but they were denied,” he said. The capturing of the dam comes just days after fighting erupted in neighbouring Helmand province, just days after the US military officially began withdrawing its remaining troops from Afghanistan.
According to an AFP correspondent in Kandahar, insurgents blew up a bridge that linked the dam to neighbouring districts last month. Dahla was established nearly 70 years ago by the United States to provide water for irrigating land in about seven districts of Kandahar.
The Asian Development Bank funded a roughly $350 million grant in 2019 to be used in part to extend the reservoir-style scheme. The nearby district has seen heavy combat in the last six months, but officials declared the area cleared in April.