The commissioning of the Kosh-Tepa (Kush-Tepa) canal will bring Afghanistan an average of $500 million in revenue annually. This was stated in a comment to Tolonews by Afghan expert in the field of water resources management Najibullah Sadid, Fergana writes.

“Kush Tepa and all its ancillary canals, once completed, could generate $470 million to $550 million in annual revenue for Afghanistan,” Sadid said.

According to the publication’s experts, with the completion of the construction of this canal, Afghanistan will achieve self-sufficiency in wheat production, and the country’s economy will make significant progress.

The National Development Corporation of Afghanistan reported that the construction of the water intake structure of the Kosh-Tepa canal has progressed by 50%, progress in earthworks in the second phase was 30%.

The cost of earthworks in the second phase of the construction of the canal, which is expected to reach the Andkhoy district in Faryab province by the end of the year, is estimated at 20 billion afghanis (over $283 million).

The Kosh-Tepa canal has been under construction since March 2022. In Afghanistan, they said that it is necessary to irrigate 555 thousand hectares of infertile areas of northern Afghanistan in order to grow wheat and sunflower here.

The canal will originate in the Kaldar district of Balkh province, bordering Uzbekistan, and pass through Jowzjan province to the Andkhoy district of Faryab province. Its length will be 285 km, width – 100 m.

The Uzbek authorities have repeatedly expressed concern that the canal will have an adverse impact on the country’s agriculture.

According to experts, Kosh-Tepa will also exacerbate the Aral Sea catastrophe by diverting water from the Amu Darya.

The international environmental coalition Rivers without Boundaries warned that the commissioning of the canal would be a blow to the water supply of all countries in the Amu Darya basin.

Once completed, Kosh-Tepa will be able to absorb about 20% of the water flow of the Amu Darya River to irrigate agricultural land in Afghanistan, and its impact on summer low water in the Amu Darya will be exacerbated by the redistribution of flow from the Rogun hydroelectric power plant being built upstream in Tajikistan.

In September 2023, at the summit of the International Fund for Saving the Aral Sea, President of Uzbekistan Shavkat Mirziyoyev proposed to involve Afghanistan in a regional dialogue on the joint use of water resources. In response, the head of the Ministry of Water Resources and Energy in the Taliban government, Abdul-Latif Mansour, said that the current Afghan authorities are not limited by any agreements regarding the withdrawal of water from the Amu Darya.

In mid-October of the same year, the Taliban announced the completion of the construction of the first section of the canal and the beginning of the second phase of the project. They asked the countries of the region, especially Uzbekistan, not to worry about the canal and said they were ready to resolve issues “through diplomatic channels.”