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Taliban capture 8 DABS workers in Helmand

Taliban capture 8 DABS workers in Helmand

Aug 06, 2017 - 18:56

KANDAHAR CITY (Pajhwok): Talibaninfo-icon militants captured eight workers of the Da Afghanistaninfo-icon Breshna Sherkat (DABS) in Sangin district of southern Helmand province on Sunday, an official said.

The power utility workers were repairing power cables, which had been cut off during clashes in the district, when they were kidnapped, said Eng. Sayed Rassoul Baqi, DABS head for southern Kandahar province.

He told Pajhwok Afghan News the power cables had been cut off during clashes in Shakar Shila area of Sanging district three days ago.

He said a technical team from the DABS office was sent to the area the same day to repair the cables, but the team did not coordinate with any sides.

“DABS is responsible to take permission from both security forces and Taliban militants whenever it repairs electricity technical faults in conflict areas,” he said.

He said security forces had ordered DABS officials to disconnect electricity to areas under Taliban control and other districts of Helmand. It was the reason the Taliban then arrested eight officers of the power utility after the blackout, he said.

Baqi added electricity was restored to Taliban-controlled areas after they shared the issue with security forces.

“We also contacted the Taliban and told them the electricity issue was misunderstood,” he said, adding the Taliban them allowed the technical team only to restore electricity to areas under their control but did not free the team yet.

The Taliban told DABS its workers would be in their custody until the load shedding issue was investigated, Baqi said.

But he added local tribal elders had been sent to the Taliban to negotiate the release of the DABS workers.

Baqi said power cables to Kandahar and Lashkargah cities would be repaired until the end of the day.

Power cables from Kajaki hydropower dam in Helmand are most of the times cut loose during fights or develop technical problems, prompting power suspension for several days.

Baqi said they suffered many problems while repairing power cables due to the threat of landmines and armed fights in the area.

The Taliban have not yet commented on the issue.

Kajaki dam produces 51.5 megawatts of electricity, of which 20 megawatts are supplied to Kandahar and the rest to Helmand province.



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