Context: With Afghanistan and Iran locked in a water dispute, tension between the two neighbours has escalated after two Iranian security personnel and a Taliban fighter were killed in a border clash.
- The Helmand River is the longest river in Afghanistan and the primary watershed for the endorheic Sistan Basin.
- It emerges in the Sanglakh Range of the Hindu Kush mountains in the northeastern part of Maidan Wardak Province, where it is separated from the watershed of the Kabul River by the Unai Pass.
- The Helmand feeds into the Hamun Lake on the border between Afghanistan and Iran.
- Its waters are essential for farmers in Afghanistan, but it feeds into Lake Hamun and is also important to farmers in Iran’s southeastern Sistan and Baluchistan province.
- A number of hydroelectric dams have created artificial reservoirs on some of the Afghanistan’s rivers including the Kajaki Dam on the Helmand River.
- Sistan region in the southeast of Iran has very varied climatic conditions.
- Sustained drought and reduced precipitation in the Sistan region, Iran, has dried the Hamoun Lake and local vegetation, significantly reducing ground cover.