Islamic State says its fighters attacked Kabul power lines

By: News Desk      Published: 07:40 AM, 23 Oct, 2021
Islamic State says its fighters attacked Kabul power lines
File photo.

The Islamic State militant group's Afghan branch has said it was behind an explosion that brought down electricity lines and plunged Kabul into darkness. 

The power cut on Thursday was a further blow to Taliban efforts to stabilise Afghanistan two months after they seized control. 

In a statement published on its Telegram channels on Friday, Islamic State-Khorasan (IS-K) said "the soldiers of the caliphate detonated a bomb on an electricity pylon in Kabul" to damage the electricity sector.

The explosion hit a high-voltage line supplying imported power to Kabul and some other provinces.

Afghanistan is largely reliant on electricity imported from its northern neighbours Uzbekistan and Tajikistan, making cross-country power lines a prime target for insurgents.

The Taliban has promised to fight IS-K but the group has continued to carry out devastating atrocities.

Earlier this week, IS-K said it was behind a suicide bombing of a Shiite mosque in the southern city of Kandahar on October 15 that killed 60 people.

Blinken, UN chief discuss Afghanistan

US Secretary of State Antony J Blinken and United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres discussed topics of global importance including Afghanistan, according to US State Department.

In a statement, the State Department said that Blinken and Guterres also discussed their shared concern over the worsening conflict in northern Ethiopia, including the escalating violence and its impact on humanitarian operations. 

Secretary Blinken expressed US appreciation for the Secretary-General's efforts to address the humanitarian crisis and commended the efforts of the UN Country Team in Ethiopia, which continues to work under challenging conditions.

"The Secretary and Secretary-General Guterres discussed opportunities to strengthen international collaboration to stop the current hostilities, promote negotiations toward a sustainable ceasefire, and deliver life-saving assistance," the statement read.

Putin says Afghan assets should be released

Russian President Vladimir Putin has said Afghanistan should receive economic support and get its financial assets unfrozen as its stability was in the interest of all its neighbours. 

Washington said it has no plans to release billions in Afghan gold, investments and foreign currency reserves parked in the United States that it froze after the Taliban seized power in August, despite pressure from humanitarian groups and others who say the cost may be the collapse of Afghanistan's economy.

The Islamic Emirate won backing from 10 regional powers at talks in Moscow on Wednesday for the idea of a United Nations donor conference to help the country stave off economic collapse and a humanitarian catastrophe. 

Russia is moving toward excluding the Taliban from its list of extremist organizations, President Vladimir Putin said on Thursday, a day after high-level talks between Moscow and the Islamic Emirate.

With inputs from AFP.