Got juice? In Afghanistan power means, well, power, with international and Afghan forces recently going all out to bring a strategic source back on line. We’re talking about Kajaki, a lake and dam northwest of Kandahar that were key points-of-attack when the U.S. beseiged the Taliban in 2001. Now with the “students” (which, intriguingly, is the translation from Urdu of “Taliban”) pushing back in recent months, the challenge was to get the hydroelectric facility going again – the Taliban fully understanding the implications of letting the West both solidify its beachhead and ensure the safe delivery of electricity. So what did the Brits, Afghans and others in charge of delivering a large new turbine do? As described in “The Economist”, their convoy consisted of “some 5,000 troops, plus hundreds of special forces, 30 helicopters, two reconnaissance drones and 20 jets.” Then they all faked one way before taking a dangerous new desert road they’d specially built for the occasion. And still they had to engage in heavy fighting, killing approximately 250 of the enemy along the way. An estimated 2 million Afghan homes stand to benefit as a result. The full “Economist” piece is at: http://www.economist.com/research/articlesBySubject/displaystory.cfm?subjectid=796681&story_id=12072991 As it notes, “electricity is the basis of any long-term economic development, which in turn is essential to winning hearts and minds. Without power there can be no factories to draw young men away from the Taliban; and without refrigeration there is little hope of developing, storing and exporting crops other than opium poppies.” The Wikipedia entry on Kajaki is at: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kajakai_Dam A YouTube film of the site can be seen at: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F53wO36vZYA


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