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Afghan Governement Launches Canal Project; Aims at Agricultural Self-Sufficiency

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EIRNS—The Taliban government kicked off construction of the Qosh Tapa irrigation canal on Wednesday, which is to be the largest canal project in Afghanistan when completed five years from now, providing irrigation for three million acres of land in the provinces of Faryab, Balkh, and Jowzjan. Speaking at the ceremony launching the project, First Deputy Prime Minister Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar called the canal project a priority of the government.

“With the construction of this canal, the country will reach self-sufficiency in agriculture. We will not be begging other countries to help us. A country cannot be developed via aid.”

It will be 280 km long, 100 meters wide, and 8.5 meters deep, officials reported, with Tolo News estimating that 200,000 jobs will be created through the project. The government is providing financing, but acting Minister of Economy Nooruddin Azizi also issued a call at the ceremony for “our investors to come to their own country here.”

A few days before (March 26), the Ministry of Energy and Water announced that work on three major water dams—Shah-Aros, Kajaki, and Kamal Khan—has been resumed, with the Kajaki dam in Helmand province, already 80% complete, and projected to be finished within two months. [ggs]