3 Sep 2008

Troops in Afghanistan transport huge power turbine

10:25 am on 3 September 2008

International forces say they have overcome fierce resistance from the Taliban to deliver a turbine for a large-scale hydro-electric power scheme in southern Afghanistan.

More than 200 Taliban insurgents were reported killed in fighting during the five-day journey through Helmand province.

The 200-tonne turbine was accompanied on its journey from the Pakistani border by 4,000 soldiers from Britain, the United States, Canada, Denmark and Australia as well as Afghan troops.

Protected by dozens of aircraft and heavy armour, the troops still faced frequent attacks as they transported the turbine on huge trucks.

Engineers had to build and strengthen a road for the 100-vehicle convoy as it went along, and move landmines off the track ahead.

The troops are aiming to install the third turbine in the 30-year-old Kajaki dam, to allow it to generate enough power to serve 1.5 million people in the south of Afghanistan.