Attack on power lines leaves Afghans in darkness before Eid Al Fitr

Kabul and neighbouring provinces face power cuts after two electricity pylons are blown up in Parwan

Power pylons transmitting electricity from Uzbekistan to Afghanistan on the outskirts of Mazar-i-Sharif. AFP
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Millions of people across 11 provinces in Afghanistan faced blackouts on Saturday after two power transmission towers were blown up to the west of the capital Kabul.

The power cuts come before Eid Al Fitr, the holiday that marks the end of Ramadan.

Two pylons in the province of Parwan were bombed late on Friday, cutting off electricity to the capital and neighbouring provinces.

"The enemies ... have blown up two electricity pylons with bombs," said Hekmatullah Maiwandi, a spokesman for the state-run Dabs electricity company.

The company sent five teams to carry out repairs, he said.

"The pylons are installed on top of mountains and our teams are trying to fix them," he said.

Temporary repairs would be performed to partially restore power by Saturday night, before a full restoration of the towers can be completed in two weeks, he said.

Police said two suspects have been arrested over the explosions.

Many residential buildings and businesses in Kabul, a city of about five million people, used private generators on Saturday to ensure there was an electricity supply before Eid celebrations begin.

Afghanistan is largely reliant on electricity imported from northern neighbours Uzbekistan and Tajikistan, making cross-country power lines a prime target for insurgents.

During the Taliban's 20-year war with Afghanistan's former US-backed government, the hardline group was regularly accused of attacking transmission towers.

But since the Taliban seized power, they have faced attacks from ISIS-K, the Afghan affiliate of ISIS.

ISIS has claimed responsibility for several deadly attacks on the minority Shiite and Sufi communities in the past two weeks.

"Nobody is happy during this Eid as so many families are mourning because of the recent blasts. Now the pylons have been blown up too," said Khatera Fakhri, who lives in Kabul.

"When there is no electricity we can't prepare for Eid. Everything is so difficult."

Updated: April 30, 2022, 6:36 PM