Amid mounting debt crisis, Afghanistan’s electricity body is set to sell the estates of its debtors in a bid to pay nearly USD 62 million worth of power bills to the central Asian countries, media reports said on Thursday.
This development comes as news reports suggest that the country’s capital city Kabul could dive into darkness due to non-payment of dues of Central Asian electricity suppliers by new Taliban rulers.
Afghanistan’s state power authority, Da Afghanistan Breshna Sherkat (DABS), plans to sell the houses of former officials and politicians who did not pay the bills of electricity and consumed a large amount of electricity, The Khaama Press News Agency reported.
Safiullah Ahamdzai, the acting head of DABAS, said that they will implement the plan and will pay off all the debts to prevent cutting electricity by exporting countries.
Electricity imports from neighboring countries like Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, and Turkmenistan account for 80 percent of the country’s power consumption.
Daud Noorzai, who resigned as chief executive of the country’s state power authority, DABS, had warned that the situation could cause a humanitarian disaster, The Wall Street Journal (WSJ) reported.
“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 Noorzai. “This would be a really dangerous situation.”According to the WSJ report, Afghanistan lacks a national power grid, and Kabul depends almost completely on imported power from Central Asia.
Although power is abundant in Kabul, things could change, if the Central Asian suppliers, whose ties with the Taliban are declining, decide to cut off DABS for non-payment.
Several UN agencies and other world bodies have raised grave concern about the dire economic situation in the country, which risks worsening the unfolding humanitarian crisis.
The United Nations on Thursday said that it has not received any requests from any entity in Afghanistan to pay bills to electricity suppliers before Kabul faces a mass blackout.
“We’ve seen these media reports,” UN spokesperson Stephane Dujarric said on Wednesday during a press briefing. “UNAMA has not received any requests from any Afghan entity to make any payments regarding the energy which is what the report cited.”