Hydropolitics of the Kabul River Basin: The Role of Water in Afghanistan-Pakistan Interactions

Document Type : Research Paper


1 Environmental Engineering Department, School of Environment, College of Engineering, University of Tehran, Tehran, Iran.

2 Water Engineering and Management Department, Faculty of Agriculture, Tarbiat Modares University, Tehran, Iran.



The Afghanistan-Pakistan belt is of great geopolitical significance due to the location of Gilgit-Baltistan (a part of the disputed region of Kashmir), the strategic Wakhan Corridor, the Federally Administered Tribal Area (FATA), and the Khyber Pass, as well as one of the most important world's drug trade passway in southern Afghanistan and Pakistani Baluchistan. Conflicts over the Kabul river basin management, which originates in Afghanistan and enters Pakistan through the Khyber Pass, have exacerbated the complexity of the issues related to the belt. Using a descriptive-analytical method and referring to library resources, this article has analyzed the various hydropolitical dimensions of this river and the roots of the conflict between two riparians to identify a part of the issues related to this belt. The results reveal that the dispute between the two riparian countries on managing shared water in the Kabul river basin is not limited to related technical issues. This conflict is part of an intertwined set of disputes on economic, geographical, political, security, and legal issues; without considering these complex dimensions, it is impossible to understand the type of disputes over this river and its roots.


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