Despite the chaotic situation in the country over the past solar year (1399), several development projects were completed or substantially advanced.
The Kamal Khan Dam, after decades of planning, reached its final stage of construction over the past solar year, and will be inaugurated on the second day of the new solar year 1400 (Mar 22, 2021).
Construction work on several other dams, after nearly a decade of delay, progressed in 1399. These were Shah-Wa-Aros Dam in Shakardara district of Kabul and Shorabak Dam in the northern province of Badakhshan province, said Afghanistan’s National Water Affairs Regulation Authority (NWARA).
Nizamuddin Khpalwak, head of the NWARA, added: “Dozens of projects, including the construction of canals, gullies, barrier walls, check (small) dams, and three projects related to adding nutrients to water for crop irrigation, were completed in 1399.”
The first freight train from Iran to Afghanistan started running after the completion of the final phase of the Khwaf-Herat project in 1399, making this the first railway to connect the two neighbor countries.
“Freight transportation costs for the imported goods and commodities from Iran will be reduced by utilizing this project, including the cargo that comes from Iran to Afghanistan through Iran’s seaports. The goods being imported from Turkey and other European countries can be transported by this railway,” said Mirwais Ghafoori, operation deputy general at the Afghanistan Railway Authority.
Aqina-Andkhoi, another rail link in the country, was also inaugurated in 1399. It coincided with the opening of a fiber optic project, and the transfer of 500-kilowatt power cable from Turkmenistan to Sheberghan, the capital city of the northern Juwzjan province.
Afghan citizens in solar year 1399 suffered many prolonged electricity cuts and were faced with lots of challenges in other areas.
“Unfortunately, the electricity outage challenges were much more than in previous years, however, the COVID-19 pandemic at the beginning of 1399 caused a downturn in Afghanistan’s industries,” said Abdul Karim Azimi, head of Afghanistan’s Chamber of Industries and Mines.
Meanwhile, some large economic projects, like TAPI, did not make significant progress in the previous year, while some other big projects, like Mes Aynak, remained stalled with no noticeable improvement.
Among the controversial projects in 1399, a framework agreement was signed between the Afghan government and the Fortescue Metals Group, the world’s largest mining corporation. Fortescue is led by an Australian billionaire. According to the agreement, the corporation has been given broad access to evaluate mining opportunites for Afghan minerals, like iron ore, gold, copper, and others.