From point of political and geopolitical aspect, the issue of water will be the most significant international dilemma in future. Even it is said that the future war will be not on oil and other energy resources but on water and its resources. One of politicians has called water as oil of the 21st century and compared its importance with oil in 20th century.
Future disputes on water will either be small and local. It means that disputes won’t be on surface water of coastal countries as rights and international laws have somehow solved these issues.
Nevertheless, useable waters of countries in small and confined areas will cause disputes and conflicts in future. When local and regional disputes are created, they will undoubtedly cause interferences of countries and big international organizations and enduring regional crisis.
One of the issues which have persisting role as a hidden and invisible factor in continuing crisis of Afghanistan is the country’s water flowing to neighboring countries. We will perceive the importance of the issue when we get that waters of the country’s 11 rivers are flowing to neighboring countries. But, contrarily no water is flowing from the neighboring counties to Afghanistan. It is estimated that the value of waters flowing annually from Afghanistan to neighboring countries reach too $ 75 billion, two fold of Iran’s annual oil incomes. It is also worth mentioning that there are no countries in Middle and Far East which have access to water like Afghanistan has it.
On the other hand, Afghanistan gets nothing from water resources inside and outside. In consideration to importance of water in future international relations and in consideration to huge water resources in Afghanistan as well as in consideration to current crisis in the country, most of the neighboring countries are said to be supporting extremism in Afghanistan and provoking tensions and disputes in the country so that they could make use of its water without paying anything.
Recently, verbal controversy between Afghanistan and its western neighbor Iran has risen. For the first time, two weeks ago the Iranian President Hasan Rohani criticized construction of water dams in Afghanistan and related it to Iran’s environmental crisis. He obviously named Salma, Kajaki, Kamal Khan and Bakhshabad dams and expressed unhappiness over construction of the respective dams.
In Afghanistan, the country’s President Mohammad Ashraf Ghani in a news conference has stressed that water was the honor and national investment of Afghanistan and he decided to manage it based on international norms.
Once again, President Ghani has also insisted on abiding by Helmand agreement and would act upon it, adding that Afghanistan would manage 18 billion cubic water and management of Afghanistan waters would not cause international and regional contradictions.
It seems that President Ghani and leading body of national unity government have reached to pivotal point in connection with Afghanistan water and its impacts on international and regional relations. Recent statements of the country’s President are considered as fundamental strategy on which no political leaders of the country have thought so far. Unfortunately, Afghanistan political leaders have drowned after each other in whirlpool of problems and crisis caused by international and regional policies. Afghanistan has never had clear vision related to water strategy as much it has today.
In reality, if Afghanistan can overcome problems and challenges facing new water policies and manage the resources in a better way and change this national investment to trading goods, most of problems in the country and most of regional disputes will solve.