Afghan forces dislodge militants in Baghlan province

Kabul, Feb 16 (IANS) The Afghan security forces on Tuesday cleared militants from a restive district on the outskirts of Pul-e-Khumri, capital of Baghlan province.

The move will help government technical teams repair electricity towers that were destroyed by militants earlier, Xinhua news agency quoted authorities as saying.

Power outage has reached 18 to 20 hours a day in Afghan capital Kabul and other cities since January 26 when the militants destroyed three metal power pylons in Dand-e-Shahabudin district, causing huge losses to people and businesses.

“The cleanup operation will continue till Dand-e-Shahabudin district is clear of militants. Security forces killed six militants and four were injured Monday night,” General Abdul Rashid Bashir, deputy provincial police chief, said on Tuesday.

“The army engineering teams have been clearing the landmines and roadside bombs around destroyed electricity pylons so that power workers can visit the site and reconnect the electricity to Kabul and other big cities soon,” he said.

The Taliban has intensified attacks over the past couple of months as the forces assumed the full security responsibility from NATO-led international forces since January 1, 2015.

Wahidullah Tawhidi, spokesman for Da Afghanistan Breshna Sherkat (DABS), the country’s national power supplier, said the DABS personnel had already supplied all needed materials near the site, adding the electricity will be reconnected to Kabul within days.

Last winter, Kabul and other cities also experienced a severe power cut for more than two months after heavy snowfall and avalanches destroyed pylons in the Salang Pass, in Parwan province.

A 442-km high voltage transmission line from Uzbekistan to Afghanistan was completed in late 2008.

It runs from the country’s border with Uzbekistan towards Kabul through five Afghan provinces, transmitting some 300 megawatts of electricity from the water-resource rich country.

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