Plot to blow up Salma Dam thwarted
HERAT CITY (PAN): Intelligence operatives on Sunday thwarted a terrorist plot to blow up the Salma dam in western Herat province, confiscating a huge quantity of explosives.
National Directorate of Security officials seized 1,300 kilograms of explosives in Kishk village near the under-construction hydropower and irrigation dam, the governor's spokesman said.
The explosives were to be used for destroying the Indian-funded facility, claimed Mohiuddin Noori, who said initial investigations revealed the explosive materials were of high quality.
He said the explosives had been brought from one of Afghanistan's neighbours, but he did not name any country.
However, politicians in Iran have expressed their opposition to work on the dam project, which would reduce the flow of river water into Iran.
Gen. Mohiuddin Ghori, the 207th Zafar Military Corps commander, said the explosives were confiscated in Pakhtun Zarghon district, 25 kilometers from the site.
Two detained suspects were being interrogated, he said, adding similar attempts had been foiled in the past. Last year, a dozen security personnel were killed in clashes with insurgents who attempted to stop work on the project.
Salma dam was originally constructed in 1976 on the Hari river basin, but was damaged during the civil war. In 2006, India promised funding for the completion of the dam at an estimated cost of $200 million.
Once completed, the hydroelectric plant would produce 42 megawatts of power in addition to providing irrigation water for 75,000 hectares of farmland.
In January 2013, the Indian cabinet approved revised cost for the completion of the project and declared it would be completed in December 2014 -- four years behind original schedule.
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