The Taliban have captured Afghanistan’s second-biggest dam after months of fierce fighting in their former bastion of Kandahar, the insurgents and officials said Thursday.
Dahla Dam, which provides irrigation to farmers via a network of canals as well as drinking water for the provincial capital, was now under Taliban control, local officials told AFP.
“We have seized the Dahla Dam in Arghandab,” Taliban spokesman Qari Yousuf Ahmadi told AFP. Haji Gulbuddin, governor of an adjacent district, confirmed the dam “is now in the control of the Taliban.
“Our security forces… asked for reinforcements but they failed to get it,” he said.
The dam’s capture comes after clashes erupted in neighbouring Helmand province this week, just days after the US military formally began withdrawing its remaining troops from Afghanistan.
Kandahar water department chief Tooryalay Mahboobi told AFP the Taliban recently warned Dahla employees not to go to work.
Last month the insurgents blew up a bridge that connected the dam to adjacent districts, an AFP correspondent in Kandahar said.