News: Keeping the lights on in Kandahar
Story by Sgt. Uriah Walker
KANDAHAR AIRFIELD, Afghanistan – Kandahar provincial governor Tooryalai Wesa met with members of ISAF to discuss the way ahead for the transfer of two power generation plants in southern Afghanistan July 1 at Kandahar International Airport. The transfer of these facilities to Afghan ownership and management is a significant step forward toward the independence of the country.
The Shorandam and Bagh-E Pol generator plants, currently owned, managed and supported by Regional Command-South, are scheduled to be turned over to Da Afghanistan Breshna Sherkat (DABS) in December 2013.
Before that transfer can take place there are several critical actions and milestones that must occur before implementing an orderly and final transfer of the facilities. During this shura those topics and concerns were brought to the table for discussion.
Security and trained professionals were two areas Gov. Wesa said were still a concern. However, he is confident in the abilities of the Afghan people to take over the responsibility of power generation and the protection of these facilities once the transfer is complete.
The shura today was very productive, said Gov. Wesa, because there were different members of different departments involved in the future of Kandahar power, electricity.
Accompanying Gov. Wesa at this power shura were members from DABS, Kandahar administrations, municipality, private sector, Chamber of Commerce, ISAF and U.S. Agency for International Development.
“This, as the governor said, is an extremely important day for the future of electricity for Kandahar City,” said Brig. Gen. Pat White, Third Infantry Division and Regional Command-South deputy commanding general for support.
“We have a fuel plan for subsidies through next summer to allow the government of Afghanistan to figure out how to fuel their power needs. I think the key is the ability to focus on the growth and demand,” White continued.
After the transfer of the two power generation plants Jan. 1, the responsibility of maintaining moves to DABS and ISAF will continue to help with fuel.
“Hopefully, 20 to 30 young people will train for the power department and they will be taking the responsibility of the typical work,” Gov. Wesa said.
Gov. Wesa continued: “Sooner or later we have to be on our own and thanks to all our ISAF support we got for the last 11 years and we will never forget that – It will be part of the history…”