The European Bank of Reconstruction and Development has committed $50m to assist in funding the modernization of Tajikistan’s Qairokkum hydroelectric plant. The plant, a 1957 holdover from the Soviet era, is currently the only facility that generates electricity for Tajikistan’s northern provinces, which currently hosts about 500,000 homes. The funds allocated to the project by the EBRD will cover the brunt of the project expenses, while the remainder is will come in the form of donations of nearly $21 million, a loan of $10 million, and an additional $15.7 million, a portion of which has been donated by Austria and the United Kingdom.
Tajikistan is home to large bodies of water which, if utilized properly, could provide the country with sufficient energy year-round while providing excess energy generated by dams to neighboring countries such as Pakistan and Afghanistan, which currently face severe energy shortages. The Tajik government has not, however, been able to effectively modernize the country’s energy infrastructure, and has resorted to asking richer nations to subsidize the costs of its energy infrastructure. The country has long been in discussions with other Central and South Asian states with regards to the Central Asia South Asia Electricity Transmission project (CASA-1000), which was to see Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan provide electricity for Pakistan and Afghanistan through new infrastructure sponsored in part by the Asian Development Bank, the World Bank and the United States, though the project, whose fulcrum has for years been the ill-conceived Rogun dam, has not been able to get off the ground, with some predicting that it never will.
- Hashmat Karzai, an influential cousin to Afghan President Hamid Karzai, was killed after a suicide bomber entered a dinner party that Karzai was attending and blew himself up. Hashmat Karzai was running Ashraf Ghani’s presidential campaign and was a provincial council member known to have considerable sway. The attack has not yet been claimed by any armed group.
- The United Nations’ annual Human Development Index ranks Uzbekistan near the bottom – 114th out of 187 members – and describes the country as over reliant on natural resources. The report seeks to measure a variety of factors, ranging from life expectancy, education and income within a country, and cited natural resource over-dependence as a negative factor due to the fickle nature of domestic markets and the ability for them to experience major fluctuations with little advance notice.
- Ukrainian armed forces encircled and attacked Horlivka, a small rebel-held town about 20 miles to the north of Donetsk, causing a team of 30 unarmed Dutch police officers to postpone efforts to recover the bodies of Dutch nationals killed on-board MH17. The Malaysian government had brokered a deal with the rebels in Donetsk province that would allow for the recovery of the dead. However, fighting in the region escalated and the safety of the rescue team was no longer guaranteed.
- An outbreak of anthrax in rural Uzbekistan has compelled Tashkent to begin widespread vaccinations of cattle throughout the region. Widespread vaccinations of cattle began nearly six months ago in remote parts of Uzbekistan, though the spread of the disease has not dissipated as a result. Dozens of cases have been reported, though no deaths have yet been reported.
- Kyrgyzstan will play host to joint military exercises between members of the Collective Security Treaty Organization, a multilateral organization that includes states such as Armenia, Belarus, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Russia. Joint military activity is set to kick off in nearly two weeks from now, as Kazakh, Kyrgyz, Russian and Tajik troops are still finishing up related drills in Russia’s Chelyabinsk region.