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NATO allies, partners commit $200 million to help power Afghan security forces

By By Lt. j.g. Charity Edgar, Resolute Support Headquarters

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Sept. 11, 2015 — KABUL, AFGHANISTAN (Sept. 10, 2015) — NATO allies and partners announced the commitment of $200 million to the Afghanistan Infrastructure Trust Fund, contributing to the completion of a national grid that will benefit millions of Afghans.

The contribution will enable the Afghan National Defense and Security Forces to transition from expensive, unreliable diesel-generated fuel to the more cost-effective grid, while expanding power capacity.

“Germany is a nation that takes a proud interest in technical matters,” said German Amb. Markus Potzel. “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 Canadian Amb. Deborah Lyons. “The project ties into a larger investment program carried by Asian Development Bank and USAID to establish an interconnected electricity grid in Afghanistan.”

The Asian Development Bank will manage the $200 million contribution.

“This contribution 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,” said United States Amb. Michael McKinley. “This legacy focuses on writing a new and ambitious chapter for this country, one that is committed to its transformation.”

The transition promotes regulated systems and transparency by alleviating reliance on fuel and stimulates financial development and stability in Afghanistan.

“This power will provide a significant boost to the Afghan economy,” said Dr. Tom Panella, country director, Asian Development Bank. “A growing economy translates into greater tax revenues for the government, making Afghanistan stronger and less reliant on donor support.”

Da Afghanistan Breshna Sherkat has plans to continue this increased power access to 65 percent of its population in the next five years.

“We are extremely pleased with this contribution to the electrical infrastructure of Afghanistan,” said Mirwais Alami, chief commercial officer, Da Afghanistan Breshna Sherkat. “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.”

Currently, nearly 90 percent of Afghan National Defense and Security Forces facilities rely on diesel generators at an annual cost of $327 million. The transition will provide soldiers and police reliable power to operate their equipment and train on facilities without interruption or unstable fuel costs.

“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. Gen. Todd Semonite, commanding general, Combined Security Transition Command-Afghanistan. “The transition to the grid will slash sustainment costs, allowing Afghan Security Institutions to focus where they should—on security.”