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The Taliban plans to buy electricity from Iran after Afghanistan’s unpaid bills to other countries left it facing blackouts

Afghanistan refugees walking at dawn

Afghanistan refugees walking at dawn. Nicolas Economou/NurPhoto via Getty

  • Afghanistan has struggled with electricity since the Taliban took over in August.

  • In October, reports said was leaving unpaid vast bills to nations for power as its economy faltered.

  • This week officials signed a new deal with Iran that may provide relief.

Afghanistan’s national power company plans to import electricity from Iran in the hope of heading off a looming electricity crisis.

Da Afghanistan Breshna Sherkat (DABS) announced a deal this week to purchase a 100-megawatt supply, according to the Afghan network TOLO News.

The country’s power network is in a precarious state since the Taliban ousted the US-backed government in August. Afghanistan imports the majority of its power, and had mounting debts to neighboring countries.

In October, The Wall Street Journal reported that Kabul was facing blackouts in the winter. The former CEO of DABS, who left in the Taliban takeover, said it owed some $90 million to Uzbekistan, Tajikistan and Turkmenistan.

Those nations, he said, would be justified in stopping the supply of power to Afghanistan on grounds of non-payment.

The deal with Iran offers another avenue for the Taliban to secure reliable electricity.

A DABS spokesman told TOLO News that the imports were focused on western Afghanistan. Kabul, where the blackout threat was said to be most acute, is in the east.

Afghanistan’s economy has been in crisis since the Taliban came to power. Earlier this month, the group banned the use of foreign currencies in Afghanistan, citing the dire economic situation.

The Taliban has been prevented from accessing overseas reserves accumulated by the previous government, including almost $10 billion held in the US by Afghanistan’s central bank.

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