Rivers & Lakes

The Helmand River


Much of the water in Afghanistan drains within the country, with only an eastern river reaching the Indian Ocean. The Kabul River flows into the Indian Ocean through Indus River which flows to the Arabian Sea, part of the Indian Ocean. The Amu Darya (Oxus) eventually empties into the Aral Sea. Most of the other rivers rise in the central mountains and empty into inland lakes or dry up in desert sands. Other major rivers include the Kunduz, which runs to the Amu Darya, and the Harirud, which runs through western Afghanistan and Herat.

The Helmand stretched 1450 km from the mountains about 80 km west of Kabul, through the desert, until it reaches the marshes and the lake region. The river remains relaltively salt-free for much of its length, unlike most rivers with no outlet to the sea. The river basin offers good potential for irrigation and increased agriculture.

Though, Afghanistan has few large lakes, five small lakes in the central highlands known as Band-e Amir are famous fo their unusual colouring, from milky-white to dark green. The underlying bedrock causes the colour difference. The Hamun-e Saberi is a brackish marsh where flamingos breed.

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