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Kabul faces blackouts over unpaid bills for imported power

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(Last Updated On: October 5, 2021)

Kabul could face a winter of power outages as concerns grow over the amount owed to neighboring countries that supply Afghanistan with electricity.

According to officials from Afghanistan’s power supplier, Da Afghanistan Breshna Sherkat (DABS), the country owes its neighbors $62 million.

DABS officials said however that they have not received any warnings about imminent disconnections.

However, the Afghan public is heavily indebted to DABS, to the tune of $500 million, officials confirmed.

Safiullah Ahmadzai, acting CEO of DABS, told Ariana News that they are working on a plan to recoup money owed to them.

“Some customers and (former) politicians still owe money. We are working on a mechanism to formulate a policy to collect the electricity tariffs owed by customers. InshAllah, the work will be completed and the money collected,” said Ahmadzai.

DABS also warned homeowners, tenants, business owners, former politicians and warlords to pay their outstanding bills or face losing their properties.

Ahmadzai said they have two options: pay their bills or their properties will be sold on auction.

Afghanistan relies heavily on its neighbors for electricity at buys power at a cost of $300 million a year from Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, and Iran.

There is however one key domestic supplier – Bayat Power which is the largest (and only domestic) natural gas power producer in the country and serves about one million Afghans.

Bayat Power, the region’s most technologically advanced gas-fired electric power plant, is also Afghan Gas Enterprises’ (AGE) only commercial customer. AGE is responsible for the extraction and supply of natural gas.

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Turkish, US foreign ministers hold bilaterals on NATO summit sidelines

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(Last Updated On: December 1, 2021)

Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu and his US counterpart Antony Blinken met on the sidelines of NATO summit in Latvian capital Riga on Wednesday Two foreign ministers held bilateral talks at the Atta Center, where the NATO Foreign Ministers summit was underway.

Before the meeting, Cavusoglu said Turkey is in contact with Ukraine and Russia to ease tensions, adding that sanctions on Moscow will not solve the crisis.

Ukrainian and Western officials say Moscow has massed forces on the border with Ukraine, which is battling Russia-backed separatists who control part of its territory to the east, and Kyiv on Wednesday urged NATO to prepare sanctions on Russia.

Cavusoglu and Blinken were expected to discuss latest developments in the region, including Ukraine, Libya and Afghanistan.

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Three Russian aircraft with humanitarian aid arrive in Kabul

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(Last Updated On: December 1, 2021)

Three Russian aircraft landed in Kabul on Wednesday carrying 36 tonnes of humanitarian aid, Russia’s TASS news agency reported.

All three Russian Ilyushin Il-76 aircraft, involved in delivering humanitarian aid to Afghanistan would also evacuate Russian citizens, as well as citizens of the Collective Security Treaty Organization member states, Russia’s Defense Ministry, said in a statement.

“Some three Ilyushin Il-76 strategic airlifters of the Russian Defense Ministry have delivered humanitarian aid to the Kabul airport and are boarding evacuees for departure from Afghanistan,” the statement read.

A total of over 380 Russians, citizens of the CSTO member states (mainly Kyrgyzstan), and Afghan students from Russian universities will fly out on the departing planes, the ministry said.

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India considers re-opening mission in Afghanistan

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(Last Updated On: December 1, 2021)

As countries slowly start reopening their embassies in Kabul, India is also reportedly considering the possibility of re-staffing its mission in Afghanistan.

So far, Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Russia, China, Iran, Pakistan, Qatar, Turkey, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan all have a diplomatic presence in the country.

Japan and the EU have also discussed the possibility of returning to Afghanistan.

One senior Indian official told The Hindu on Wednesday that “establishing a presence in Afghanistan has nothing to do with recognition [of the IEA government]. It simply means that you would like to have people on the ground dealing with the new regime, to continue engagement with the people.”

He said the Modi government is not convinced about the need to re-open its mission, but that discussions are continuing on what India’s strategy should be, The Hindu reported.

At present, the Indian Embassy in Kabul, which was evacuated within two days of the IEA talking control, is intact and being guarded by IEA forces.

While calls from within the country to reopen grow, officials told The Hindu that much depends on what India’s other partners and friendly countries choose to do.

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