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Tajikistan reduces power supply to Afghanistan from 350 to 40MW

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(Last Updated On: July 28, 2020)

Da Afghanistan Breshna Sherkat (DABS), the country’s national power company, announced Monday that imported electricity from Tajikistan to Afghanistan has been reduced from 350 megawatts to 40 megawatts effective Tuesday.

In a statement released on Monday, DABS said the power has been reduced due to water shortages in Tajikistan.

However, DABS stated that an alternative had been found and that an additional 200 megawatts from Uzbekistan is being imported for Kabul and other provinces. DABS also said it was hoping to secure a further 200 megawatts as soon as possible.

“We faced the issue at 7am on Sunday, the electricity company was able to talk to Uzbekistan, and now we have provided 200 megawatts of electricity from Uzbekistan to Kabul,” Wahidullah Tawhidi, a spokesman for DABS said.

“Considering the domestic electricity, we have a total of 300 megawatts of electricity. We’re trying to get another 200 megawatts of electricity as soon as possible. The power in Kabul is relatively good right now,” he said.

According to DABS, electricity imported from Tajikistan serves Kabul, Nangarhar, Laghman, Logar, Pakita, Khost, Parwan, Panjshir, Kapisa, Baghlan, and parts of Kunduz provinces.

Meanwhile, economists say that more needs to be done to boost the domestic energy sector, especially regarding renewable energy and the production of energy from natural resources such as natural gas.

 In November 2019, Bayat Power made history for Afghanistan when it successfully implemented the nation’s first 40-megawatt gas-powered Independent Power Producer (IPP) in over four decades using natural gas.

According to experts, Afghan Gas requires a lot of attention from the Afghan government in order to optimize its operations so as to sufficiently supply fuel for the 40MW power plant which is the only one of its kind in operation currently.

“If investments had been done on the electricity sector over the last decade, we would have become an exporter of electricity by now. I wish investors would successfully implement projects in the energy sector, similar to what Bayat Power did in Jawzjan and other provinces, lighting up thousands of homes,” an Afghan economist Hakimullah Sediqqi said. 

“The government should think about this. In the long run, we should see the opening of dams, the opening of solar power, and have plentiful natural gas reserves worth billions of dollars. We should be able to use these resources to solve our problems of poverty and unemployment,” said Salim Toofan, an economic expert. 

DABS meanwhile agreed that Afghanistan does have the means to produce power for the country. 

“There is the capacity of using solar, gas, and water energy to generate electricity in Afghanistan,” said Tawhidi.

“Currently, the solar system in Kandahar province generates 40 megawatts, and the hydroelectric power dam of Helmand also generates 100 megawatts of electrical power,” he said. 

However, noting private investors’ achievements in this sector, he said: “Bayat and Ghazanfar Groups have invested in power production utilizing natural gas in the northern part of the country, of which Bayat group’s electricity supply project is operational.” 

He said: “There are opportunities for the private sector to invest in energy supply, and the government is ready to cooperate with them.” 

The use of natural gas in energy production, specifically by Bayat Power – the first natural gas power plant in Afghanistan – has the potential to boost domestic energy production to 200MW as planned, provided Afghan Gas can deliver the much-needed fuel to operate the state of the art SGT-A45 Siemen’s turbines, which are the first to be deployed worldwide, in Afghanistan.

 

 

 

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Atmar addresses concerns of Afghans in Tajikistan

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(Last Updated On: September 19, 2020)

On a two-day official visit to Dushanbe, Tajikistan, acting foreign affairs minister Haneef Atmar met with a number of Afghan refugees, students and business owners at the Afghan Embassy on Friday evening where he discussed challenges they are facing. 

In a statement issued by foreign affairs on Saturday, the ministry said Atmar assured students and business owners that problems they have been dealing with – specifically due to COVID-19 – would be addressed as soon as possible. 

Easy border crossings for bilateral trade was also addressed and the embassy was instructed to assist refugees with problems they are facing, the statement read. 

Addressing Afghan students that attended the meeting, Atmar said it was important for them to return to their home country once they had completed their studies so as to help with the development of Afghanistan.

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Pakistan to set up markets along Afghanistan-Pakistan border

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(Last Updated On: September 18, 2020)

Pakistan has decided to establish 18 markets along the Pakistan-Iran and Pakistan-Afghanistan borders, Pakistan government said.

Pakistan’s government would establish the markets aimed at boosting trade with the two countries and preventing the menace of smuggling.

The decision was made during a high-level meeting chaired by Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan on Thursday, Khan’s office said in a statement.

“The meeting was told that twelve border markets will be established on the Pak-Afghan border while six border markets will be established on the Pak-Iran border,” the statement read.

“The Prime Minister has approved the establishment of two border market in Balochistan Province and one border market in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa as a pilot project which will be completed and activated by February.”

Imran Khan’s Office noted that the decision to take more effective measures regarding the prevention of smuggling through borders

Talking about the establishment of border markets, the Prime Minister said that the establishment of markets where the population on border areas, especially youth, will get better business and trade opportunities, will come after fencing on the borders, the statement added.

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Kabul, Tehran review cooperation, agree to draw up new strategy

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(Last Updated On: September 16, 2020)

Iran and Afghanistan have agreed to draw up a comprehensive strategic economic document on bilateral cooperation, the head of Iran’s Customs Administration (IRICA) said.

According to Mehdi Mirashrafi, IRICA chief, “facilitating trade, exchanging customs information, solving border problems and developing transit are on the agenda of Iran and Afghanistan.” 

Speaking to journalists after a video conference with Afghan officials, Mirashrafi said: “The two sides decided to prepare a comprehensive strategic economic document, considering the determinations of the two countries for strategic cooperation.”

Tehran Times reported that on the activation of the Iran-Afghanistan-Uzbekistan Tripartite Transit Corridor and the Kyrgyzstan-Tajikistan-Afghanistan-Iran (KTAI) Quadripartite Corridor, Mirashrafi said: “This trend shows the serious determination of the Iranian Customs to facilitate transit through Afghanistan and connect Central Asian countries to international waters through the Persian Gulf and the Gulf of Oman.”

He also said Chabahar Port was one of the major issues discussed in the meeting.

“The port of Chabahar is an important and vital port for Afghanistan in the field of transit of goods through Iran, and accordingly, the Afghan side has demanded reducing visa fees and transit fees and reconsidering the penalties for customs violations in the transit route through Iran.”

The Chabahar seaport has been a vital development in Afghanistan’s efforts to increase connectivity with the region for trade purposes. 

The port is partly intended to provide an alternative for trade between India and Afghanistan as it is 800 kilometers closer to the border of Afghanistan than Pakistan’s Karachi port.

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