Capital Kabul, along with 10 other provinces, was hit by a massive power outage after militants destroyed pylons in the northern province of Baghlan on Sunday morning, rendering thousands of families across the country without electricity. The country’s main power utility, Da Afghanistan Breshna Sherkat (DABS), said three pylons carrying 220 KW of electricity imported from neighboring Uzbekistan have been blown up with Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs). A large portion of the severed electricity is used by factories in Kabul’s industrial parks, as well as Afghan households and businesses in about a third of the country. There was no claim of responsibility for the attack, which comes as fighting has intensified in the northern provinces, including Baghlan, amid stalled peace efforts by the US and the Taliban.
Afghanistan generates only 25 percent of its electricity domestically and the lines bringing power in from Uzbekistan have been attacked regularly, halting power supply to many provinces and forcing those that can afford it to rely on expensive diesel/petrol generators. For poorer families, the blackouts mean hours without power for daily needs. The DABS said technical teams were ready to restore power and reconnect the lines but they were not allowed to do so due to militant threats. This is while the Taliban rebels have launched widespread attacks over the Pul-i-Khumri City of Baghlan for the past two weeks.
Whoever that are behind this deed – most likely to be the Taliban who have a notorious track record of carrying out such subversive activities – are in fact committing national treason to this land. These ruinous activities and power crisis punish the Afghans and destroy the national infrastructure. The energy-starved Afghanistan is in dire need of power and such disruptions and power cuts bring all the industrial processes to a halt, hurting the economic development. History bears witness that whenever they are crushed on the battleground, the insurgents resort to such acts of destroying Afghanistan’s infrastructure – from blowing up power pylons to culverts on roads. The Taliban wreak such havoc at the behest of our malicious neighbors, who cannot tolerate to see a developed and intact Afghanistan. The group should know that this act will not help them in the peace negotiations or increase their bargaining power. Now, the responsibility lies on the government and security forces’ shoulders to relieve the people from the power shortage crisis at hand and restore electricity at the earliest possible in order to get the factories and industries back on track.