Key conference discusses Afghan energy issues
These views were expressed by the ministry’s Strategic Studies Center Director General, Dr Faramarz Tammana, while addressing an academic conference titled “Afghanistan International Conference on Energy Protection in Region” that got underway in Kabul.
Ambassadors from various countries, Afghan and foreign researchers and university lecturers, who participated in the conference, conferred on electricity and gas development opportunities in Afghanistan.
The participants said Afghanistan connected major energy producers and consumers with each other in the region, but itself depended on gas and electricity imports from neighbouring countries.
Tammana acknowledged the government had not been able to benefit from the country’s energy resources, saying lack professionals and the required technology in energy field were major reasons behind unused energy resources.
She said professional institutes and study centers should be established so Afghans themselves could control energy production in their country.
Da Afghanistan Breshna Sherkat (DABS) head Mirwais Alimi said if the available energy resources were properly brought into use, it would not only help Afghanistan become self-sufficient, but would also make it an exporter of power.
Afghanistan has more than enough water sources to produce electricity, besides gas and oil fields in the Amu River basin.
Afghanistan currently imports power from neighboring Turkmenistan, Tajikistan and Iran.
Experts believe if the international community invests in Afghan energy sector, it would help the country no longer depends on electricity or gas imports from neighbouring countries.
Country Director Asian Development Bank Joji Tokeshi said the bank has been supporting Afghanistan in developing its energy sector.
“We have been offering our efforts to meet Afghanistan’s needs so the country is no longer dependent on imports,” he said, adding the bank was committed to paying $900 million for the energy sector.
He recalled in 2005, most Afghans would use power generators for lighting homes, but now their problem had been resolved to a great extent. However, he said more progress in the sector still needed to be achieved.
Advisor to the president on economic affairs, Sham Lal Bathija, said a 20-year long master plan to construct hydropower dams was being worked out, but stopped short of giving further details.
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