The Dahla Dam, which provides irrigation to farmers via a canal network as well as drinking water for the provincial capital, was now under Taliban control, local officials told the news agency on Thursday. AFP.
“We seized the Dahla dam in Arghandab,” Taliban spokesman Qari Yousuf Ahmadi told AFP.
Haji Gulbuddin, governor of an adjacent district, confirmed that the dam “is now under Taliban control”.
“Our security forces… asked for reinforcements, but they failed to obtain them,” he said.
The capture of the dam comes after clashes erupted in neighboring Helmand province this week, just days after the U.S. military officially began withdrawing its remaining troops from Afghanistan.
Kandahar’s water department chief Tooryalay Mahboobi told AFP that the Taliban recently warned Dahla employees not to go to work.
Last month, armed fighters blew up a bridge connecting the dam to adjacent districts, an AFP correspondent in Kandahar said.
Dahla was built by the United States almost 70 years ago to provide water for irrigating land in approximately seven districts of Kandahar.
In 2019, the Asian Development Bank approved a grant of nearly $ 350 million to be used in part to expand the reservoir-type project.
The surrounding district has seen intense fighting over the past six months, but officials announced in April that the area had been cleared.
Before withdrawing, the Taliban planted explosives throughout the area – including residential complexes – officials said.
In neighboring Helmand, thousands of people have fled their homes in the face of a massive Taliban offensive against government forces.
US fighter jets provided air support to Afghan forces despite the withdrawal of foreign troops.
The United States was said to have pulled out all of its forces by May 1 as part of a deal struck with the Taliban last year, but Washington pushed the date back to September 11 – a move that angered the group armed.
The withdrawal of foreign forces comes even as efforts to strike a peace deal between the Afghan government and the Taliban have stalled.