Adding to Afghanistan’s Economic Disaster, Electricity from Uzbekistan Has Reportedly Been Cut
Sept. 6, 2021 (EIRNS)—According to Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty’s Uzbekistan Service, or Ozodlik, director Alisher Sidiq, as part of a panel discussion, in a Sept. 5 RFE/RL podcast, Uzbekistan had been the supplier of 90% of electric power to Kabul “24/7,” and that even when Uzbekistan itself suffered lack of electricity, “the electricity dedicated to Afghanistan was always available,” he said. “And to my knowledge it was funded somehow by Americans. That’s why it’s highly interesting for Uzbek government. ... News were that there are electricity outages now across Afghanistan, including Kabul.” Sidiq said he was “wondering” if Tashkent had stopped power delivery. “Obviously Taliban is probably talking” to get electricity resumed, “but do they have money to pay for it? Or do they want to pay through other means, like by allowing cargoes to go through Afghanistan? They will have to decide about that,” he said.
The important fact is that Afghanistan’s physical economy depends on power from Uzbekistan, with transmission coming down through the Mazar-e-Sharif–Kabul–Jalalabad corridor in Afghanistan. That corridor needs urgently to be developed as a north-south rail, road, power, and development corridor from Tashkent to Kabul to Peshawar, Pakistan, where it intersects the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC)—as the three Central Asian countries agreed to in February and submitted to the World Bank. And immediately, if this is more U.S. Treasury financial warfare against a Taliban government, it needs to be ended and the Uzbek power delivery restored.
Uzbekistan, a key nation for planning and carrying out Belt and Road-related development of Afghanistan, is being pressured by both RFE/RL and Soros Open Society networks to become a general refuge for Afghans “fleeing from the Taliban,” which would damage the two countries’ relations. Afghan and South Asian journalists are a prime group among those whom Open Society activists (such as two from Britain who were on the podcast panel) are trying to get out of Afghanistan. As the Afghan government forces were collapsing, pilots flew military aircraft into Uzbekistan, and the Taliban is now demanding their return, including the planes. A total of 585 Afghans got into Uzbekistan then, including some of warlord Abdul Rashid Dostum’s forces. The Taliban wants them all returned, Uzbekistan can hardly do this, and will likely have recourse to the UN to mediate to send them to a third country or countries.. Another slick idea of the Open Society people was that Uzbekistan might send the Dostum fighters back into Panjshir Province to help the resistance against the Taliban. That would ruin Uzbek-Afghan relations for a long time.
The Uzbek-Afghan border is now closed, but Uzbekistan is waving through trains and trucks entering the corridor, which are mostly carrying trade to and from Pakistan.
Another strange note from RFE/RL: “The U.S. Embassy in Dushanbe on Sept. 1 announced plans to build a border-guard facility on the Tajik-Afghan-Uzbek border, where tensions have risen in recent months as Taliban fighters captured Afghan regions that abut Central Asia’s post-Soviet republics.” The embassy would apparently recruit guards for this border post, reported RFE/RL.