DUSHANBE, October 28, Asia-Plus - “Afghanistan faces serious power shortages and currently is importing electric power from Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan and Iran,” Afghan Energy and Water Minister Muhammad Ismail Khan told journalists yesterday

The Afghan minister arrives in Tajikistan to participate in the second regional electricity trade conference that opened at the president’s Varzob residence “Pugus” on October 27.

According to him, Pakistan intends to import electricity from Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan. Ismail Khan noted that Tajikistan has not yet developed all of its potential hydropower resources and therefore Afghanistan has imported electricity from other countries.  ”But in future, both our country and Pakistan will import electricity from Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan,” the minister said. He said that Pakistan faces up to a 4,000-megawatt power shortage and Afghanistan 1,000 megawatts. 

”To resolve this problem we have begun construction of a power transmission line from Kabul via Mazar-e Sharif to Pul-e Khumri,” Khan said.

According to President Emomali Rahmonov, a power transmission line from Tajikistan to Sherkhan Bandar in Afghanistan will have been finished by the end of this year. 

The Afghan minister noted that that the future Dashtijum hydroelectric power station on the Panj

River in Tajikistan will be of great importance not only for Tajikistan but also for reconstruction of Afghanistan’s economy. 

Tajik Deputy Prime Minister Asadullo Ghulomov noted that a memorandum of understanding (MoU) on electricity trade will be signed during the conference. 

Asked about participation of competitive energy companies from the United States, Ghulomov said that the question is not one of competition but of cooperation. ”Both private and state-run companies may produce electric power, build power transmission lines and supply electricity,” the Tajik official said.

On the main electric line from Tajikistan to Peshawar in Pakistan, he said that it was Tajikistan that initiated this project. ”Some 1 billion US dollars are needed to implement the power transmission line,” Ghulomov said.