Kabul Will Be In The Dark If Taliban Doesn’t Pay The Power Bill
Kabul could literally be in the dark as winter sets in. since taking control of the capital, the Taliban has not paid Central Asian electricity suppliers or restarted collecting money from consumers.
Unless the situation is resolved it could lead to a humanitarian disaster, warned Daud Noorzai, who resigned as chief executive of the country’s state power supplier Da Afghanistan Breshna Sherkat, just two weeks after the Taliban’s takeover on Aug. 15.
“The consequences would be countrywide, but especially in Kabul. There will be blackout and it would bring Afghanistan back to the Dark Ages when it comes to power and to telecommunications,” said Mr. Noorzai, who maintains contact with DABS’s current management. “This would be a really dangerous situation.”
Electricity imports from Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, and Turkmenistan provide half of Afghanistan’s power consumption nationwide, Iran provides electricity to the country’s west. Domestic production, primarily at hydropower stations, has been significantly affected by this year’s drought. Afghanistan does not have a national power grid, and Kabul relies almost completely on imported power from Central Asia.
At this time power is in ample supply in Kabul, a rare—transitory— development largely attributed to the Taliban no longer attacking the lines from Central Asia, coupled with the industry being stalled and military and government facilities being idle. A larger share of the power supply is going to residential consumers, alleviating the rolling blackouts that usually happen.
The abundant supply of power will come to an abrupt end if the Central Asian suppliers—particularly Tajikistan, cut off DABS for nonpayment.
The Taliban’s relationship with Tajikistan has been unraveling and Tajikistan has given shelter to leaders of the anti-Taliban resistance, including former Vice President Amrullah Saleh. Recently Tajikistan deployed additional troops to its border with Afghanistan, provoking Russia to call on both nations to de-escalate.