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Afghanistan asks UN to give $90 million to settle unpaid power bills

Afghanistan asks UN to give $90 million to settle unpaid power bills
October 7, 2021 Web Desk

KABUL (Web Desk) – Afghanistan has appealed to a United Nations-led mission to give $90 million to settle unpaid bills to Central Asian suppliers before electricity gets cut off for the country given that the three-month deadline for payments has passed.

Safiullah Ahmadzai, the acting CEO of Da Afghanistan Breshna Sherkat, said that Afghanistan usually pays $20 million to $25 million a month in total to Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Iran and now upaid bills stand at $62 million. "These countries may cut the power supply any day they want,” he added.

Referring to the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan, Ahmadzai said: “We’ve asked the UNAMA in Kabul to assist the people of Afghanistan to pay the country’s power suppliers as part of their humanitarian aid.” He said some $90 million was requested from the mission as the unpaid bills will jump to about $85 million in a week.

"The UN mission hasn’t responded to that request yet," he said.

Since the Taliban took control of Afghanistan from mid-August, electricity bills haven’t been paid to neighboring countries that supply about 78% of its power needs. This poses another problem for a new government that is grappling with a cash crunch in the economy in part due to US and other allies freezing the country’s overseas reserves.

Currently, there’s no significant power cuts now in Kabul or elsewhere in Afghanistan. Ahmadzai said just 38% of Afghanistan’s 38 million people currently have access to electricity.