Graveyard of empires: Afghan dam British soldiers died protecting may fall to Taliban

Aerial view of the Kajaki Dam. © Wikipedia
Kajaki dam, a key hydro-electric facility which supplies water to large parts of Helmand province, and a strategic location for which many British troops died, may fall to the Taliban in the near future, according to reports.

Local officials working at the dam have warned that up to 25 engineers, including Britons, have been evacuated to Kandahar in the wake of Taliban encroachment. 

Between September 15 and 16, US forces were compelled to carry out three separate airstrikes to defend the area from the advance of insurgents, US military officials have said.

The strikes were necessary to “to eliminate threats to the force,” Colonel Brian Tribus, spokesman for the international forces in Afghanistan, told the Guardian newspaper.

Other than that the Afghan security forces have full responsibility for security, and for planning and leading their own operations,” he added.

In 2008, as part of a heavily publicized operation, 2,000 UK troops from 16 Air Assault Brigade brought a massive 220 ton turbine to the dam by road in order to keep it working.

Despite the project being hailed as a massive success by commanders, the turbine still lies unassembled near the dam.

The volatile security situation in the province has reportedly made it impossible to deliver the 700 tons of cement necessary to fit the turbine.

READ MORE: Western pullout could make Afghanistan ‘safe haven for terrorism’ – British ex-colonel 

During the war in Helmand, dozens of British troops died around the dam, leading to a 2014 feature film named ‘Kajaki’, which fictionalized the horrific experiences of a group of elite paratroopers who became trapped in a nearby minefield.

Kajaki borders the Musa Qaleh district, another epicenter for British military deaths and injuries during the worst of the fighting, which also reportedly fell to the Taliban late last month.