Afghanistan faces blackouts after Taliban stopped paying electric bills

by ian

Ian Patrick, FISM News


Amidst the political, social, and economic turmoil that has engulfed Afghanistan since the Taliban took over, the nation now faces an additional problem – no electricity.

According to Da Afghanistan Breshna Sherkat (DABS), the country’s state-run electricity provider, the Taliban has stopped making payments to power companies in other Central Asian countries, including Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and Iran, that supply power to Afghanistan.

Because of this, many employees at DABS have resigned and the remainder have suggested that Afghanistan will soon plunge into a “dark age” without modern electricity and telecommunications – effectively cutting them off from the rest of the world.

“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,” said one of the employees to The Wall Street Journal.

Safiullah Ahmadzai, the COO of DABS who was acting as the CEO until he was replaced by a Taliban cleric, said they need $90 million in order to address the various debts and other liabilities the company faces. The Taliban took on the companies debts when they seized power, but have done nothing to alleviate the costs.

DABS says that Afghanistan pays $280 million or more for imported electricity annually. The WSJ noted that last month DABS saw a drop in collection from Afghani consumers by 74 percent, also raking in only $8.9 million since Aug. 15 in overall revenue. In 2020 the company generated $387 million in revenue.

Ahmadzai has said that the neighboring nations that supply their electricity “now have the right to cut our power, under the contract.” Yet, he continues to try and assure these nations that they will be paid.

Going back to a dark age with no guarantee of reaching the outside world would be devastating to the Afghani citizens and the foreigners that still remain trapped in the country, particularly in light of the Taliban’s actions which point to a return to a violent and extremist rule. These fears have been supported by a myriad of recent atrocities.