Taliban Stops Paying Foreign Energy Providers, Blackout Imminent

Afghanistan is facing imminent winter blackouts with the Taliban unable to pay foreign electricity suppliers, according to a report by the Wall Street Journal.

About 70 percent of Afghanistan’s electricity relies on foreign companies, and former CEO of the country’s power monopoly Daud Noorzai warned that the situation could turn into a humanitarian crisis if not addressed.

“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,” Noorzai said.

The Taliban took over the Afganistan’s power monopoly Da Afghanistan Breshna Sherkat (DABS) and inherited its debts to power suppliers in Turkmenistan, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan worth $90 million.

Safiullah Ahmadzai — COO of DABS until he was replaced by a Taliban cleric on Oct. 3 — told the Wall Street Journal that the Taliban would not allow the power company to use the $40 million available in its accounts to pay off part of its liabilities.

With government offices postponing salaries and banking systems paralyzed, Afghan citizens are unable to pay their power bills and unpaid debts by DABS have prompted suppliers to start cutting off power.

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