Afghanistan hit by blackouts after power pylons destroyed

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KABUL, Sept 16 (Reuters) - Afghan households and businesses in about a third of the country have been hit by blackouts after electricity pylons in the northern province of Baghlan were blown up over the weekend, the main power utility said on Monday.

The utility, Da Afghanistan Breshna Sherkat (DABS), said three pylons carrying 220 KW of electricity imported from neighbouring Uzbekistan had been destroyed on Sunday, cutting power in 11 of the country's 34 provinces, including the capital, Kabul.

There was no claim of responsibility for the attacks, which come as fighting has intensified in northern provinces including Baghlan amid stalled efforts by the United States and the Taliban to agree plans to withdraw thousands of U.S. troops from Afghanistan.

DABS said engineers had arrived from neighbouring provinces to work on restoring the pylons.

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Afghanistan generates only 25 percent of its electricity domestically and the lines bringing power in from Uzbekistan have been attacked regularly, forcing those that can afford it to rely on expensive diesel generators.

For poorer families, the blackouts mean hours without power for daily needs. (Reporting by Abdul Qadir Sediqi Editing by Robert Birsel)

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