NATO allies and partners commit 200 million USD to Afghanistan Infrastructure Trust Fund

NATO allies and partners on Saturday pledged the assistance of 200 million USD to the Afghanistan Infrastructure Trust Fund, which will help in the completion of national grid.

The assistance will enable Afghan security forces to switch from “expensive, unreliable diesel-generated fuel to the more cost-effective grid, while expanding power capacity,” said a statement issued by NATO.

The event was attended by the acting defense minister Masoom Stanikzai, U.S ambassador to Kabul P. Michael McKinley, German ambassador to Kabul Markus Potzel, Canadian ambassador to Kabul Deborah Lyons, country director of Asian Development Bank Tom Panella, and commanding general of combined security transition command-Afghanistan Maj. Gen. Todd Semonite, among others.

In his remarks, Mr. McKinley said the assistance, which will be managed by the Asian Development Bank, is a “win-win for all parties”.

“It will support Afghanistan’s development goals in a sustainable manner, provide affordable power to its citizens and integrate Afghanistan with its regional neighbors,” he said. “This legacy focuses on writing a new and ambitious chapter for this country, one that is committed to its transformation.”

The assistance will enable Afghan security forces to switch from “expensive, unreliable diesel-generated fuel to the more cost-effective grid, while expanding power capacity,” said NATO

Mr. Potzel said the investment is aimed at “doubling the capacity of the existing electric grid”.

“Germany is a nation that takes a proud interest in technical matters,” he said. “The investment is aiming at doubling the capacity of the existing electric grid through the construction of a 500 kilovolts transmission line from Turkmenistan to Kabul.”

The investment will be shared among five NATO allies and partners: Australia, Belgium, Canada, Germany and the Netherlands.

“The project is an example of what can be accomplished when Afghanistan and the international community work together towards a common goal,” said Ms. Lyons. “The project ties into a larger investment program carried by Asian Development Bank and USAID to establish an interconnected electricity grid in Afghanistan.”

Mr. Panella said this power will provide a “significant boost” to the Afghan economy.

“A growing economy translates into greater tax revenues for the government, making Afghanistan stronger and less reliant on donor support,” he said.

Mirwais Alami, chief commercial officer at Da Afghanistan Breshna Sherkat, said they have plans to continue this increased power access to 65 percent of total population in the next five years.

“We are extremely pleased with this contribution to the electrical infrastructure of Afghanistan,” he said. “The power lines constructed from these funds will satisfy the electricity demands of thousands of Afghanistan’s citizens as well as our defense and security forces.”

At present, nearly 90 percent of facilities used by Afghan security forces rely on diesel generators, which incur an annual cost of 327 million USD 

At present, nearly 90 percent of facilities used by Afghan security forces rely on diesel generators, which incur an annual cost of 327 million USD.

“While the ability to upgrade the Afghan National Defense and Security Forces to a power grid is an economic success, it also significantly bolsters the nation’s security,” said Maj. Semonite.

“The transition to the grid will slash sustainment costs, allowing Afghan Security Institutions to focus where they should - on security.”

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