The TWINS Framework for Illustrating Co-Existing Conflict and Cooperation in the Hirmand River Basin

Document Type : Review


1 M.Sc. Student, Department of Irrigation & Reclamation Engineering, Faculty of Agricultural Engineering & Technology, College of Agriculture & Natural Resources, University of Tehran, Karaj, Alborz, Iran.

2 Assistant Professor, Department of Water Engineering and Management, Tarbiat Modares University

3 Associate Professor, Department of Irrigation & Reclamation Engineering, Faculty of Agricultural Engineering & Technology, College of Agriculture & Natural Resources, University of Tehran, Karaj, Alborz, Iran


This study applied the "Transboundary Waters Interaction Nexus (TWINs)" framework to the Hirmand/Helmand River hydropolitical interactions to figure out what can be learned by policy and decision makers by studying the past experiences about transforming conflicts and current ambitions. Analyzing coexisting conflict and cooperation in the Hirmand River by TWINs framework shows that from 1870 until 2020, in most periods, the Hirmand water conflicts have been politicized. But due to the westernization tendency and anti-Iranian sentiment procedure in Afghanistan during 2010-2020, water conflict has been increased and is opportunitized. As a matter of fact, the existence of a bad treaty over shared water, in addition to the international funds and supports from constructing dams in Afghanistan has been given the upper hand to Afghanistan in current negotiations over the Hirmand River Basin. The result of the TWINs framework and past experiences shows that bargaining purely over technical issues in the Hirmand River Basin cannot put water allocation in this basin in a peaceful situation. Therefore, the riparian states should rely on the interdependencies in social-economic, cultural, and security fields in order to create a sustainable and equitable relationship, which ultimately can create common values and norms in riparians’ water interactions. In other words, Iran and Afghanistan's water conflict needs outside the water box's solutions. This also highlights the importance of the depoliticization of Hirmand water interactions for preventing political frictions in hydropolitical relationships.


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