Need for Energy: Logar Residents are Using Kerosene Lamps

This winter, Da Afghanistan Breshna Sherkat (DABS) provided electricity at a reduced rate. The poor quality of imported electricity has disrupted the daily lives of citizens in the capital and provinces, with permanent power outages preventing people from listening to the news, watching television, charging phones and other electrical devices, or even accessing water. In the last two months, most villages and cities have been plunged into darkness due to the lack of electricity. To light their homes, people have resorted to using solar power, car batteries, electric generators, and other methods. However, people from lower classes, such as those in Logar province, cannot afford fuel, so they have had to resort to using kerosene lamps, something that has not been used in recent years.

Several families in Logar who are in need have stated that fuel (gas and oil) is expensive, but their low income does not allow them to use gas, solar, and electric generators. Additionally, they have reported that they receive electricity for one hour a day, but there is no set time for when this occurs.

Mahmoud, an employee of the civil administration of Logar, spoke to HashteSubh about the difficult times faced by needy families due to unemployment, a low economy, and an increase in the price of fuel and food, as well as the cold winter and lack of electricity. As the breadwinner of a family of ten, Mahmoud‘s monthly income of 8000 AFN is not enough to buy solar bars and batteries, leaving the lantern as his only option. He said,I am a government clerk and I receive only 8000 a month. I am not able to buy gas and petroleum products, so I am obliged to use lanterns at night because I can‘t even provide food for my family with my salary.”

Gul Mina (pseudonym), who lives in the capital of Logar but is originally from the Charkh district, is grateful for the government electricity as it has allowed her to forget the memories of the past three decades when she had to rely on lanterns for light. She expresses her dissatisfaction with kerosene lamps, saying that they do not provide much brightness and the fumes they produce can damage bedding, mattresses, and walls.

In the meantime, the lanterns run on diesel, which costs 70 to 75 afghani per liter. This means that one liter of diesel can last 15 to 20 days. However, kerosene lamps cannot provide the same level of lighting as other electrical devices. Therefore, families with no other options are asking the officials of DABS to address the electricity shortage and provide the necessary energy for the citizens.

Mohammad Rasol is another resident of Logar province who also uses lanterns. He states that, since the Taliban took control, citizens have been facing financial and other issues such as a lack of electricity. He noted that the Taliban‘s highranking officials have been unable to resolve the issue of importing energy from Uzbekistan for more than three months, which is the worst electricity shortage Logar has seen in the last ten years.

For the past two months, Kabul and 11 other provinces have been relying on imported energy from Uzbekistan to get through the winter, due to a lack of power. However, DABS has stated that the shortage of power is due to a technical issue in Uzbekistan.

The head of the Taliban‘s Minister of Foreign Affairs, Amir Khan Mottaqi, strongly condemned Uzbekistan for not following through with their agreement to export electricity to Afghanistan. He instructed government officials to take action, and stated that Uzbekistan had no justification for cutting the electricity. The contract for 2023 had already been signed with the National Electricity Company of Uzbekistan, and all previous debts had been paid. Uzbekistan was supposed to export 400 MW of electricity to Afghanistan, but according to data from the Talibanrun DABS, they are now only exporting 250 megawatts.

Recent data shows that around 7780% of Afghanistan‘s energy needs are met by Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, and Iran. This means that Afghanistan pays between 280300 million dollars each year to its neighboring countries for imported energy.