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Fragile infrastructure challenged by recent spike in militant attacks on Afghan electricity network

JTIC data recorded eight attacks targeting electricity infrastructure across Baghlan, Kabul, and Parwan provinces, all within the first week of May. On 4 May 2020, four workers of state-run utility firm Da Afghanistan Breshna Sherkat (DABS) were wounded when a vehicle-borne improvised explosive device (VBIED) was detonated in the Chimtala area in the capital Kabul. Two days later, in an unidentified location in Parwan province, a senior worker of the same company was killed in a similar attack. As a consequence of these attacks, for which no responsibility was claimed, the east of the country was particularly affected, wherein residences and hospitals – currently overwhelmed by the Covid-19 response –were left without electricity. According to DABS, the recent spate of attacks resulted in damages of over USD10 million.

On 8 May, the spokesperson for the Ministry of Interior Affairs reported that eight individuals allegedly connected to the attacks and “linked to militants” were arrested. Meanwhile, only two out of the eight attacks were linked to the Taliban, and although the group’s spokesperson has denied responsibility, the tactics used and the level of co-ordination and funding required to conduct these operations are indicative of the involvement of an organised militant group. The remaining six attacks were not attributed to any particular group, nor did anyone claim responsibility for them.

Targeting infrastructure

JTIC Afghanistan Dashboard highlights attacks on national infrastructure January 2015 – May 2020, accessed 31 May 2020. (Janes)

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