- First foreign commercial flight arrives in Kabul.
- Around 100 passengers to awaiting evacuation.
- Taliban sought aid from Qatar and other nations to resume operations at Kabul Airport.
Kabul: After being taken over by the Taliban, the Kabul Airport today welcomed its first commercial flight today. A Pakistani international airline arrived in Kabul, before making a return flight to Islamabad.
An AFP journalist aboard the Pakistan International Airways (PIA) flight from Islamabad said, “There was hardly anyone on the plane, around 10 people… maybe more staff than passengers.” As per the information given in by officials, only 100 passengers from Kabul were awaiting evacuation from the war-torn land.
Qatar Airways operated several chartered flights out of Kabul last week, carrying mostly foreigners and Afghans who missed out on evacuation. An Afghan airline resumed domestic services on September 5th.
The restarting of commercial flights will be a key test for the hard-line Islamist group, who have repeatedly promised to permit Afghans with the right documents to leave the country freely. Kabul airport was left damaged after the US forces staged a chaotic withdrawal on August 30 evacuating more than 120,000 people from the country. The Taliban have since then been struggling to operate the airport with technical assistance from Qatar and other nations. The Islamist group has promised a lighter form of rule this time, but have moved swiftly to strong objection, including firing in the air to remove recent protests by women calling for the right to education and work.