Planned to irrigate 75,000 hectares of land and generate 42 MW of power, the Afghan-India Friendship Dam is a landmark infrastructure project undertaken by India in this strategically-important province in Afghanistan.

Built on River Harirud at Chist-e-Sharif in western Herat neighbouring Iran, the Rs 1,700-crore dam has been executed and implemented by WAPCOS Ltd, a government of India undertaking under the Ministry of Water Resources, River Development and Ganga Rejuvenation.

The construction of the multipurpose project involved more than 1,500 Indian and Afghan engineers for several years in difficult condition.

Located 165 kilometres east of Herat Town, the project is is connected with earthen road. Due to security reasons, all Indians working on the project had to reach the site once a month in a helicopter provided by the Afghan government.

Many of the hydro-mechanical equipment used for its construction have been dispatched by India via Iran as the dam sits in the strategically important Herat province, which lies on the ancient trade routes of the Middle East, South and Central Asia.

The equipment and material were transported from India to Iran’s Bander-e-Abbas port via sea and then along 1,200 kilometres by road to Islam Kila border post between Iran and Afghanistan, from there to the site 300 kilometres by road.

Cement, steel reinforcement, explosives among other required materials were imported to Afghanistan from neighbouring countries.

The project has an installed capacity of 42 MW with three power units of 14 MW each and has a gross capacity of 633 million cubic metres.

It is planned to provide stabilized irrigation to 35,000 hectares of land and an additional irrigation facility to 40,000 hectares.

It has a height of 104.3 metre, has a length of 540 metre and is 450 metre wide at the bottom. There is a 70-metre deep curtain grouting — a barrier to protect the foundation of the dam from seepage.

India has a strategic partnership with Afghanistan and is implementing projects worth USD 2 billion to help rebuild the country’s infrastructure.