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Taliban attack on electricity pylon causes outage in Kabul

IANS | Kabul |

Nearly 80 per cent of Kabul was without power on Monday after the Taliban blew up an electricity pylon in Afghanistan’s Baghlan province, officials said.

The power lines transmitting around 300 MW of power from Uzbekistan to the capital and neighbouring provinces were cut off, said Nangialai Myakhil, Deputy Operation Chief of Afghanistan’s government owned power utility (DABS).

Myakhil told Efe news that the militant group attacked the tower around 2 a.m. and that only 20 per cent of Kabul was receiving power, mainly hospitals and government buildings.

A technical team sent by DABS to restore power was not able to reach the site of the destroyed pylon owing to security reasons, he added.

A week ago, the Taliban threatened to cut off the power supply to Kabul if the government did not accept its demand to improve electricity services in areas under their control.

“Until our legitimate demands are met, the Islamic Emirate (as the Taliban call themselves) will keep the power cut to Kabul, which houses all large bases and centres of the foreign invaders and domestic enemies, its responsibility fall upon the officials of the Kabul regime” the Taliban had said in a statement.

Afghanistan has one of the lowest rates of electrification in the world with only 25-33 per cent of the population connected to the power grid, mainly in large cities, according to a recent report by the US Special Inspector General for Reconstruction of Afghanistan.

The country is going through one of its bloodiest phases after the NATO mission ended in 2015, which, however, remains in the country to train Afghan forces.