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Taliban Attacks Afghan Electric Power Grid

Afghan officials said Taliban insurgents have blown up a major power line in a volatile northern region, disrupting electricity supply from Uzbekistan to areas, including Kabul.

Mirwais Alimi, chairman of the national power company Da Afghanistan Breshna Sherkat, told VOA Wednesday the insurgents damaged several electricity transmission towers in overnight attacks in Baghlan province.

He said the assailants heavily mined the area and until Afghan security forces defused the threat and secured the area company workers could not begin repairs.

The damage to the transmission lines is said to have disrupted 280 of the required 650 megawatts of electricity to the Afghan capital, Kabul.

The attack on power lines came on the day when Afghan security forces undertook a major offensive in Baghlan to retake lost territory around Pul-i-Khumri, the provincial capital.

Local officials said intense clashes have so far left at least 20 people dead, mostly Taliban insurgents.

In a separate development, Afghan officials said four experts clearing mines and unexploded ordinance in the restive southern Helmand province were killed by Taliban insurgents on Wednesday.