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The Deepening Energy Crisis in Afghanistan

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Lately, the world has been focused on the Russia-Ukraine war, the late arrival of winter in Europe, and how the seasonal change will affect the war. With the war, energy trade decreased to a minimum within the scope of the deteriorating relationships between Europe and Russia, and in this context, it was discussed that Europe would have a harsh winter. However, while the severe winter conditions in Europe have not yet fully shown their face, it hit Afghanistan hard. Despite this, the international community ignores the crisis in Afghanistan and focuses on energy competition based on the West, Russia, and China.

Although the energy crisis, whose effects are felt at the global level, tends to deepen, these countries can create new energy production areas, reach alternative sources, and import energy thanks to their developed economies. However, it can be said that Afghanistan, which has been exposed to various conflicts and imperialist interventions for years due to the “New Great Game” taking place within the scope of the global power struggle, is deprived of this capacity.

Nowadays, it is seen more clearly that Afghanistan is going through a difficult process in terms of energy. In Afghanistan, which had the harshest winter of the last 15 years, temperatures dropped to -34 degrees. Because of the harsh winter in Afghanistan, more than 160 people died between 10-25 January 2023. It is also known that 70,000 livestock perished due to the cold in the country.[1] The death of many people epitomizes the difficult situation Afghan society is going through. In addition, perished animals bring a great cost and food shortage. Although Western news sites and media outlets report on the crisis, they do not take any concrete steps to solve the deepening problems.[2]

The energy crisis in Afghanistan is not an issue that comes with the harsh winter conditions. This is why in November 2022, there were various discussions on the energy problem. It is known that even in the capital of the country, Kabul, electricity is available for only seven to eight hours a day in autumn.[3] Despite this, the fact that no precautions were taken, and the punishment of the Afghan people in the name of isolating the Taliban administration is one of the most important causes of the humanitarian crisis in Afghanistan.

Afghanistan produces approximately 30% of the energy in the country with its means. However, the rest is exported from neighboring countries which are Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan and Tajikistan.[4] However, the mentioned countries have to reduce the amount sent due to increased energy consumption in winter. However, despite the fact that the Taliban administration has difficulty paying for the energy it receives due to economic problems, energy continues to be sent to the country by the neighboring states.

On the other hand, the Afghan people do not have an economic resource from which they can purchase fuels that will solve the heating problem, as well as the difficulty they experience in reaching electricity. This situation leads to a multidimensional deepening of the energy crisis in Afghanistan.

While the increasing energy crisis and power cuts in the country threaten people’s lives with cold, various industrial companies that continue to produce despite the conflicts in Afghanistan are adversely affected by the crisis.[5] This damages the production capacity in the country. Therefore, Afghanistan is being dragged into a multidimensional crisis.

Although there is an energy shortage in Afghanistan, another reason for this is the interventions of foreign actors. Inasmuch as Foreign actors, who wanted to break the resistance of Afghans and various groups during the intervention process, significantly destroyed the infrastructure in the country. This is why it is difficult to solve the crisis in Afghanistan in the short term. It also requires a budget and technical assistance to constructand rebuild the infrastructure.

As a result, while the Western World is discussing its own energy crisis, It ignores the problems in Afghanistan. Although hundreds of people lost their lives in a short period of time, there is no significant initiative of the international public to solve the problems. As a result, this shows that the Afghan people are left to their own fate.


[1] Lyse Doucet, “Afghanistan: Freezing Weather Kills at Least 124 People”, BBC, https://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-64386145, (Date of Accession: 01.02.2023).

[2] “Extreme Cold in Afghanistan Leaves More than 160 Dead This Month”, CBC, https://www.cbc.ca/news/world/afghanistan-cold-deaths-1.6726637, (Date of Accession: 01.02.2023).

[3] “Afghanistan: Kabul Residents Complain of Power Shortage as Winter Approaches”, ANI, https://www.aninews.in/news/world/asia/afghanistan-kabul-residents-complain-of-power-shortage-as-winter-approaches20221115232846/, (Date of Accession: 01.02.2023).

[4] Abubakar Siddique, “The Azadi Briefing: Afghanistan Plunged Into Darkness Amid Massive Power Outages”, RFE/RL, https://www.rferl.org/a/azadi-briefing-afghanistan-power-outages-ngos/32242485.html, (Date of Accession: 01.02.2023).

[5] “Afghanistan: Kabul Residents…”, op.cit.

Dr. Emrah KAYA
Dr. Emrah KAYA
ANKASAM Dış Politika Uzmanı Dr. Emrah Kaya, Akdeniz Üniversitesi Uluslararası İlişkiler Bölümü’nden mezundur. Yüksek lisans derecesini 2014 yılında Süleyman Demirel Üniversitesi Uluslararası İlişkiler Bölümü’nde hazırladığı “Latin Amerika'da Sol Liderlerin Yükselişi ve Uluslararası Politikaya Etkisi: Venezuela-Bolivya Örneği” başlıklı teziyle almıştır. Kaya, doktora derecesini de 2022 yılında aynı üniversitede hazırladığı "Terörle Mücadelede Müzakere Yöntemi: ETA-FARC-LTTE-PKK" başlıklı teziyle elde etmiştir. İyi derecede İngilizce bilen Kaya'nın başlıca çalışma alanları; Orta Asya, Latin Amerika, terörizm ve barış süreçleridir.