Power Returns to Kabul, but Bribes Persist

Deal boosts electricity access, business in struggling Afghan capital
By Wesley Oliver,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 11, 2009 5:33 AM CST
An Afghan man holds a lamp at his home in Kabul, Afghanistan on Oct. 22, 2007. More than five years after the fall of the Taliban, dinner by candlelight remains common in the Afghan capital.   (AP Photo/Rafiq Maqbool)
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(Newser) – For the first time since the fall of the Taliban, the glow of light hangs over Kabul late into the night, GlobalPost reports. An energy deal with Uzbekistan is bringing unprecedented access to electricity to the Afghan capital, where most neighborhoods only had power for about four hours every second evening and none during the day.

Now, power flows at least 16 hours daily, but many residents say they’ll continue using less-than-legal ways to get wired. “I still pay 500 afghani ($10) per week as a bribe to my electrician,” insisted one. For store owners, business is booming. “Before this we only sold appliances to parliamentarians and other big bosses,” said one. “Now everybody is buying them.”