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Wednesday, May 18, 2016

LA Times: An ethnically charged dispute over electricity brings protesters into Kabul's streets



Afghan protesters from the Hazara minority clash with riot police in Kabul, Afghanistan, on Monday. They were protesting the controversial rerouting of a new power line. (Jawad Jalali / European Pressphoto Agency)
Ali M. Latifi

Residents of the Afghan capital awoke Monday to stacks of multi-colored shipping containers meant to protect the presidential palace from the latest anti-government demonstration — this time over an electricity line from Turkmenistan.

The demonstrators — mainly members of the Hazara ethnic minority — were demanding that a 500-kilovolt power transmission line from Turkmenistan be routed through the central province of Bamiyan, home to a large Hazara population.

Bamiyan suffers from chronic electricity shortages, and when it was revealed recently that the power line would instead be routed through the rugged Salang Pass — the highway connecting northern and southern Afghanistan — before reaching Kabul, many Hazaras criticized what they saw as a racially and politically motivated decision.



Police fire water cannons as protesters from the Hazara minority protest the rerouting of a power line.

Bamiyan had been part of the original route for the Turkmenistan-Uzbekistan-Tajikistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan power project, known as TUTAP, which officials say will unite Afghanistan’s 10 separate power grids and bring electricity to millions of homes that lack it...Continue Reading....

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