Afghanistan and Iran sign electricity supply agreement
28 January 2012 - Afghanistan and Iran signed an agreement in Kabul today for electricity supply from Iran to three western provinces of Afghanistan – Nimroz, Herat and Farah.
Afghanistan’s Minister for Energy and Water, Mohammad Ismail Khan, and his Iranian counterpart, Majid Namjou, signed the agreement at a ceremony in the Afghan capital, Kabul.
Speaking at the signing ceremony, Minister Khan said that Herat and Nimroz provinces had already been getting electricity from Iran.
Once implemented, he added, the new agreement would increase the power supply from 10 megawatts to 24 megawatts for Nimroz and from 90 megawatt to 140 megawatt for Herat. Farah Province will get 50 to 100 megawatts of electricity.
He said a delegation for project design and survey would start the work soon at both sides of the border to provide electricity to Farah province from Iran.
The United Nations has been stressing the “crucial importance” of advancing regional cooperation as “an effective means to promote security, stability and economic and social development in Afghanistan”. The UN Security Council, while renewing the mandate of UNAMA in March last year, called for strengthening the process of regional cooperation, including measures to facilitate regional trade and transit, with a view to promoting sustainable economic growth and the creation of jobs in Afghanistan.
Minister Khan said Afghanistan had been buying electricity from its immediate neighbours including Iran, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan.
The Iranian Minister, Mr. Namjou, said that Iran was ready to share its energy with its neighbours, but added insecurity was the biggest hindrance.
Mr. Namjo said that one area in which more cooperation could be forthcoming was dam construction projects, which could have multiple objectives. He said Afghanistan and Iran could work jointly on such projects that would benefit both countries.
Responding to a question on construction of dam in Kunar Province, Minister Khan said the project had to be scrapped because it needed “billions of dollars and 15 years of time” before it could generate electricity. The Government of Afghanistan, he said, has been working on small projects.
Afghanistan currently needs 3,000 megawatts of electricity and Kabul alone 400 megawatt, according to Mr. Khan.
Referring to a question about the two new turbines that came from Iran recently, the Mr. Khan said those turbines would be run only in case of emergencies because their expenses were extremely high.
By UNAMA Kabul