Security officials said eight suspects have been arrested on charges of damaging power pylons with explosives over the last 10 days, cutting off electricity to parts of the city, which, along with inconveniencing residents, also has cut off power to hospitals aiding COVID-19 patients.
One pylon was damaged by an explosion on Thursday evening in Kabul’s Ahmad Shah Baba Mina area in which three policemen were wounded and the pylon was partly damaged, according to the Ministry of Interior Affairs.
So far, five power pylons have been attacked in the last 10 days, causing major electricity power outages, demonstrating how dependent the city is on imported electricity, which mostly comes from Central Asian countries.
“We arrested eight people and our (search) operations are underway. This group has links with militants,” said Tariq Aryan, a spokesman for the Ministry of Interior Affairs.
In the past two weeks, it has become common for Kabul residents to expect that a pylon has been blown up when they see the power in their houses gone.
Enayatullah, an employee of Da Afghanistan Breshna Sherkat, or DABS, the country’s only power company, said they started work on repairing the pylon in Kabul, and that damaging or destroying power pylons is national treason.
“As you see, a group of us are working here to fix the foundation of the pylon and it will be finished soon,” he said.
The pylon, according to Enayatullah, transmits power generated at Naghlo Dam in the east of Kabul – one of the few domestic resources for electricity in Afghanistan.
“The only goal of (the attackers) is to cut Kabul’s power. Previously, the attacks against pylons were done in the north of Kabul and now they have started in the east of the city,” said Ismail Khedmatgar, a Kabul resident, who says the explosion happened near his house.
DABS officials have said that every year they spend millions on repairing power pylons that are either destroyed by militants or other armed men.