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International relations

Taliban throws wrench into Pakistan's plans for cheap coal power

Afghan rulers hike price right after Islamabad shows interest in imports

A laborer shovels coal on the outskirts of Kabul: Pakistan wants cheaper energy supplies, while the Taliban aims to maximize its revenue.   © Reuters

PESHAWAR, Pakistan -- The Taliban has upset Pakistan's plans to ease its energy crisis by importing cheaper coal from Afghanistan, exposing the neighbors clashing interests.

Facing a severe energy shortage, partly due to a lack of foreign reserves to import coal or gas for its Chinese-built power plants, Islamabad recently announced its intention to import coal from Afghanistan in Pakistani rupees instead of dollars. This way, it hoped to reduce its dependence on more expensive South African coal.

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