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Tuesday, January 25, 2022

Qatar eyes investments in Afghanistan’s energy sector: Afghan official

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Officials from Doha have been calling on the international community to avoid isolating Kabul.

Qatar has reportedly set its eyes on investing in Afghanistan’s solar power generation, said the Acting Afghan Minister of Water and Power Mullah Abdul Latif Mansoor in a tweet on Sunday.

Mansoor noted he had met with the Chairman of Qatar’s Solar Energy [QSE] company Salem Abbasi who said that a joint meeting comprising of administrative and technical delegations from relevant ministries should take place in order to further discuss such moves.

 

The Afghan official provided no further information on the potential deal and authorities in Qatar have yet to comment on the issue.

Afghanistan’s has been struggling with an electricity shortage, with up to 1,600 megawatts of power needed on an annual basis. The country’s domestic power sources, including hydropower plants, solar panels and fossil fuels, meet around just 22% of the country’s needs.

Since the Taliban took over Kabul on 15 August, the country has struggled to repay electricity bills it owed to neighbouring nations. Afghanistan gets 78% of its power supply from foreign countries, paying between $20 to $25 million on a monthly basis to Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Iran.

Read also: Qatar FM says ‘unfair’ to punish Afghans in need of humanitarian assistance for Taliban takeover

In November, Afghanistan’s power company Da Afghanistan Breshna Sherkat [DABS] announced it will be importing around 100 megawatts of electricity from Iran.

The potential deal with Qatar would come as the Gulf state continues to support Afghanistan amid a worsening economic and humanitarian crisis, all of which have been exacerbated by the latest developments following the Taliban takeover.

Several world leaders were quick to halt aid to Afghanistan, with the US freezing up to $10 billion of the country’s reserves.

Earlier this month, Qatar’s Foreign Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al-Thani stressed the importance of separating the provision of humanitarian assistance from politics.

The Qatari diplomat said at the Rome MED Conference that it is “unfair to punish the Afghan people because of the Taliban takeover”.


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