The President of Uzbekistan, Shavkat Mirziyoyev, voiced concerns over the construction of the Qush Tepa canal, saying that its “commissioning” may fundamentally change the balance of water in Central Asia.
This is the first time that a regional official made a critical statement about the Qush Tepa canal.
Mirziyoyev made the remarks at the fifth summit of the Central Asian Nation heads.
“You are well aware that Afghanistan is constructing a canal. The commissioning of this canal may change the balance of the water in Central Asia,” he said. “We believe it is necessary to set up a joint working group to study all aspects of the construction of the Qush Tepa canal and its impact on the water regime of the Amu Darya with the involvement of research institutes of our countries.”
The Islamic Emirate has yet to comment about the statement of the Uzbek president but earlier said the use of the Amu River is the right of Afghanistan.
“We don’t even take one spit of water from other countries and don’t want to. So, no country should be worried and we have very friendly and good relations with Uzbekistan. We believe that they support a self-reliant Afghanistan and they are cooperative with us in this regard,” said Zabiullah Mujahid, Islamic Emirate’s spokesman.
The analysts believe that the construction of a canal and other infrastructure to manage the water is the right of Afghanistan.
“The current regime has made some small actions for Qush Tepa, and it raised voices. This will put political pressure on the regime. The current regime is also silent because it needs to have its northern paths opened as the fuel and gas of Russia come through these paths and goes to Torkham. These remarks are very serious,” said Sayed Masoud, an economist.
“One positive point about Uzbekistan’s president's remarks is that he is asking Afghanistan for the first time to attend the meetings on the Amu river and this is a very important issue. Previously, when there was discussion about the Amu river, Afghanistan was not invited,” said Najibullah Sadid, a water management analyst.
According to a report of the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), the annual flow of the Amu Darya by riparian country produces is: “Tajikistan use 62.5 percent, Afghanistan 27.5 percent, Uzbekistan 6.3 percent, Kyrgyzstan 1.9 percent and Turkmenistan also 1.9 percent.