One Day National Conference on Sustainable Usage of Kabul River: Prospects and Challenges for Pak-Afghan Cooperation

  • 08:30 am
  • Area Study Centre, UoP

Concept Note:

Historically, Pak-Afghan relations since start are marred by the differing perceptions over various issues between the two sides. The emerging differences over Kabul River are an addition to the old disputes. The Kabul River originates in the north-west of Afghan city of Paghman flowing east and is joined by Kunar River (River Chitral) few miles short of Pak-Afghan border. Chitral River originates in Pakistan (Chitral) known as Kunar River in Afghanistan and contributes 70 percent to the total Kabul River flow. It enters Pakistan in the vicinity of Warsak on the outskirts of Peshawar. The Kabul River with its four offshoots in Pakistan is very important for the irrigation in Peshawar Valley and adjoining areas. However, the deteriorating national, regional and global climatic conditions and the population explosion in Pakistan are seriously impacting Kabul River, let alone the increase in demand for food and the increased cultivation. Additional issues with regard to Kabul River are water diversion, water shortages, water wastages, water management, water storage, water pollution, irrigation problems, environmental damage, floods, droughts, crop-failures, socio-economic complications, mass human migrations and the migrating seasonal birds. The potential political unrest in Peshawar Valley is yet another dimension of the Kabul River reality. All this in the context of Kabul River is negatively impacting Pak-Afghan relationship. The best alternative is to reach a negotiated agreement over Kabul River, as opposed to diplomatic, political and strategic crises.

The 12 hydel power plants with a capacity of 2406.3 megawatts of electricity planned by Afghanistan with the help of India and World Bank over Kabul and Kunar rivers are a source of anxiety and concern for Pakistan. The viability studies by Indians and Afghans for these dams are complete. These dams will reduce water flows into Pakistan which is already faced with water shortages. The less said about the lack of water reservoirs in Pakistan, the better. The 21st century wars are expected to be fought over control of water resources. Afghanistan is an upper riparian state and Pakistan a lower riparian one with no formal agreement on water sharing with Afghanistan. An Afghan-Pakistan water treaty is not a bad idea. The Helsinki Convention and UN Watercourses Convention 1997 can provide a framework for any future agreement. The two can mutually benefit from the river and its potential and also enlarge the cooperation subsequently in the form of integrated economies and mutually beneficial trade. Pakistan being a lower-riparian country should be willing to go an extra mile to conclude a water agreement with Afghanistan. Keeping in view the utmost significance of Kabul River for Afghanistan and Pakistan, the Area Study Centre, University of Peshawar, therefore plans to organise and hold a one day conference on the subject consisting of two working sessions.

Further, the Editor “Central Asia” will welcome and consider a quality research paper for publication in research journal of Area Study Centre University of Peshawar on any of the following sub-themes. In case of adequate number of research papers, the Area Study Centre may publish a special issue on Kabul River. The papers’ publication will be subject to peer review process.


(i)           Impacts of Decrease in Water on the Surrounding Areas of Kabul River

(ii)         Impact of Water Shortage in Kabul River Associated Wetlands

(iii)       Socio-Economic Impacts of Water Shortages in Kabul River

(iv)        Exploring Possibilities for Rainwater of Kabul River and Wastewater Harvesting as Adaptation Measures

(v)          Tourism and Recreation Related to Kabul River.

(vi)        Institutional Strengthening Related to Kabul River ; a way Towards Better Management  

(vii)      Watershed Management and Water Sharing Policy between Pakistan and Afghanistan: Prospects of Bilateral Agreement

Conference Tentative Programme:

Tim Activity

08:30 am

Guests Arrival/ Registration


Inaugural Session and Keynote Address


Welcome Remarks Introduction/ Objectives of the Conference:


Prof. Dr. Shabir Ahmad Khan, Director, Area Study Centre (Russia, China and Central


Asia) University of Peshawar


Chief Guest and Keynote Address:

Prof. Dr. Muhammad Asif Khan, Vice Chancellor, University of Peshawar


Working Session 1


(Chair: Prof. Dr. Azmat Hayat Khan, Former Vice Chancellor/ Director Area Study Centre (Russia, China and Central Asia) University of Peshawar)

09:20 am

(15 Minutes each presentation and 20 minutes for Q/A)

Prospects and Challenges to Pak-Afghan Bilateral Agreement on Kabul River

Dr. Omar Zakhilwal, Ambassador of Afghanistan in Pakistan

09:35 am

Status of Water Pollution in Kabul River and its Impacts on Population, Fisheries and Migratory Birds

Prof. Dr. Mohammad Nafees

09:50 am

Transboundary hydrology, Climate change and its impact on flood factors in the Kabul-Swat floodplain, Pakistan

Prof. Dr. Atta ur Rehman

10:05 am

Water Scarcity and Climate Changes: Kabul river

Prof. Dr. Amir Nawaz

10:20 am


10:40 am

Group Photo/ Tea Break




Working Session 2


(Chair: Prof. Mohammad Moeen Marastial Consul General of Afghanistan in Peshawar)


(15 Minutes each presentation and 20 minutes for Q/A)

11:10 am


Trans boundary Water Conflicts: Need for Pak-Afghan Water Treaty

Dr. Wisal Shah


11:25 am

Cleaning and Rehabilitation of Kabul River

Mr. Jahangir Shah.


11:40 am

Ecology of Kabul River

Prof. Dr. Ali Mohammad Yousafzai


11:55 am

Prospects and Challenges for Pak-Afghan Cooperation Regarding Kabul River

Mr. Suleman Yousaf



12:10 pm

Questions and Answers 



12:30 pm


12:45 pm

Vote of Thanks:


Prof. Dr. Shabir Ahmad Khan, Director, Area Study Centre (Russia, China and Central Asia), University of Peshawar

   01:00 pm