Taliban blow up Pakistan electricity station: officials

Agence France-Presse

Posted at Mar 19 2009 06:02 PM | Updated as of Mar 20 2009 02:02 AM

PESHAWAR - Taliban militants blew up an electricity substation in Peshawar Thursday, plunging more than half the northwestern Pakistan city into darkness, officials said.

Militants planted explosives around four pylons in Urmur, on the outskirts of Peshawar before dawn, Shaukat Afzal, a spokesman for the state-owned water and power supply company told AFP.

The blast destroyed the grid station and left half the city without power, he said.

The power supply was partially restored after more than eight hours.

"We have made alternative arrangements to restore power supply but repairing the main transmission line will take at least five days," said Afzal.

Nobody claimed responsibility for the blast but officials blamed "miscreants," jargon for Taliban militants who attack police and security posts and government installations.

Peshawar is a gateway to Pakistan's lawless tribal region, considered a hub of Taliban and Al-Qaeda-linked militants looking for a safe haven after the 2001 US-led invasion of Afghanistan toppled the Taliban regime in Kabul.

Thursday's attack comes with energy-starved Pakistan bracing for a hot summer.

Officials say electricity generation falls short of demand by nearly 25 percent. The government's failure to meet basic electricity needs often triggers riots and civil disturbances.