Afghanistan could go dark as bills remain unpaid

Afghanistan could go dark as bills remain unpaid


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Afghanistan’s state power company has appealed to an UN-led mission to give $ 90 million to settle the unpaid bills to Central Asian suppliers before electricity gets cut off for the country, given that their 3-month deadline for payments has passed.

Since Taliban took control of Afghanistan in mid-August, electricity bills haven’t been paid to the neighbouring countries; they supply around 78% of their power needs.

Afghanistan usually pays $ 20-25 million a month to Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Iran and now the unpaid bills are at $ 62 million, said Safiullah Ahmadzai, CEO of Da Afghanistan Breshna Sherkat. These countries may cut power supply “any day they want.”

“We’ve asked the UNAMA in Kabul to assist the people of Afghanistan to pay the country’s power suppliers as part of their humanitarian aid,” Ahmadzai said. He said, $ 90 million was requested from the mission, as unpaid bills will jump to $ 85 million next week.

Currently, there’s no major power-cuts in Kabul or Afghanistan as a whole. Only 38% of Afghanistan’s 38 million people currently are having access to electricity.

The Taliban government is going to pay the bills, and has called on neighbouring countries to avoid cutting off power supply, said Bilal Karimi, a spokesman of Taliban. He said, “We have a good relationship with them and we don’t expect them to stop providing us power.”

Power outages were always common here, even when U.S.-backed govt was in power. Taliban has been partly responsible for this situation as they attacked the transmission towers last year which caused blackouts in Kabul.