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Taliban Attack Disrupts Power Supply to Kabul, Several Afghan Provinces

FILE - A worker fixes damaged electricity cables the aftermath of Wednesday's suicide attack and shooting in district police headquarters in Kabul, March 2, 2017.

The Taliban has destroyed a major electricity tower in northern Afghanistan, disrupting imported power supply to five provinces, including Kabul.

The pre-dawn insurgent subversive action occurred in the province of Baghlan, plunging a vast area into darkness, including much of the Afghan capital.

Residents, businesses and offices in Kabul, a city of nearly five million people, faced frequent power cuts Monday and used private generators to run essential operations.

Provincial governor, Abdul Hai Naimati, told VOA a team of technicians was at the site and repair work was underway.

Afghanistan imports about 300 megawatts of electricity for these provinces from neighboring Central Asian states of Tajikistan and Uzbekistan.

Officials at state-run De Afghanistan Breshna Shirkat electricity providing authority told VOA the Taliban attack disrupted supply to Kabul, Parwan, Maidan Wardak, Ghazni and Ningarhar provinces.

The Taliban had warned last week it would cut the electricity transmission if power supply to insurgent-controlled areas in Baghlan was not restored.

The insurgents had destroyed a major tower in Baghlan’s Dand-i-Shahabuddin district in about two years ago, cutting power supply to Kabul and other areas for nearly six weeks.

The Taliban currently controls or contests nearly 45 percent of the Afghan territory, according to latest U.S. military assessments.

Monday's insurgent activity occurred as delegations from regional and countries around the world gathered in the Uzbek capital, Tashkent, for a conference on peace building efforts in Afghanistan.

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani will address the meeting his country is co-hosting with Uzbekistan.

The Taliban has ignored Ghani's unconditional offer of peace talks he announced last month at the Kabul Process international meeting.