Blackout in Kabul: Did Taliban fail to pay electricity suppliers?
Almost 80 per cent of the supply of Afghanistan's entire power consumption is imported from neighbouring countries like Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, and Turkmenistan.
Afghanistan reported multiple power outages across its capital city, Kabul, as well as several other provinces once again on Wednesday after electricity supply to the country from Uzbekistan was stopped due to “technical problems”, reported the Sputnik news agency, citing a statement issued by Afghanistan's state power company Da Afghanistan Breshna Sherkat (DABS). Notably, the development comes days after the Afghan capital had in a similar fashion plunged into darkness amid reports that the country's new Taliban rulers have not yet paid Central Asian electricity suppliers or reinstituted the framework to collect money from consumers.
The technical issues emerged in the northern Afghan province of Baghlan, Sputnik reported citing DABS. “The technical staff is working to resolve this issue as soon as possible,” the statement read.
Why is electricity supply dwindling in Taliban-ruled Afghanistan?
The newly anointed Taliban rulers, according to reports, are struggling with the non-payment of electricity dues to Central Asian electricity suppliers.
Almost 80 per cent of the supply of Afghanistan's entire power consumption is imported from neighbouring countries like Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, and Turkmenistan. When the Taliban launched a lightning-fast offensive and seized Kabul from the erstwhile Ashraf Ghani government, the outfit took over the state energy utility, also inheriting all its debts in the process. The new rulers, however, have failed to pay off the creditors due to a lack of funds and a framework to collect money from consumers.
How does the Taliban plan to pay off the debt?
Afghanistan's electricity body, now under Taliban control, is reportedly intending to sell off the estates of its debtors in a bid to pay the nearly $62 million worth of power bills to the central Asian countries. Safiullah Ahamdzai, the acting head of DABAS, told news agencies that the plan will be implemented, all debts will be paid off to prevent electricity exporting countries from cutting off the supply, and only then will Afghanistan enjoy uninterrupted power connection.
However, a former head of DABS, Daud Noorzai, said earlier this month that in case the Taliban fail to implement the ‘plan’ and do not pay off the bills to the Central Asian energy suppliers, electricity supply to the Afghan capital province of Kabul could be cut off by winter.