Disputes Over Water Resources Between Afghanistan and Neighbouring States

Capacity building in international water law for staff members of Afghan ministries in September 2014

Afghanistan is currently not fully exploiting its potential for water utilisation. Due to a lack of sufficient infrastructure and expertise, Afghanistan has turned to international investors and corporations to deal with this matter. Nonetheless, such parties are wary of involvement due to ongoing disputes over the use of water resources between Afghanistan and neighbouring States.

Well grounded knowledge of the relevant international legal framework is vital in order to prevent international water disputes, especially in relation to the four water basins of the Kabul River, the Helmand River, the Amu Darya River and the Harirud-Murghad basin.

In this context, the Max Planck Foundation held a legal seminar in Kabul on international water law in close cooperation with the Hamida Barmaki Organization in Kabul and the Afghan Ministry of Foreign Affairs’ Institute of Diplomacy. The seminar was conducted by international law expert Dr. Mohsen Abdollahi, an associate professor from the Faculty of Law at the Shahid Beheshti University in Tehran (Iran).

Knowledge of international law is of vital importance to Afghan ministerial staff for negotiations on prospective international agreements. In addition, this further training also contributes to the finding of a peaceful solution between Afghanistan and its neighbours for the utilisation of water resources. Therefore, the seminar was also intended to contribute towards maintaining peace as well as towards the economic development of the country.