India ‘undecided’ after Taliban’s request to resume flights to Kabul

The last commercial flight between India and Afghanistan was operated by Air India on the Kabul-Delhi route on August 15, the day Kabul fell to the Taliban

flights, protest, airport, The Federal, English news website, Hong Kong

The Taliban-controlled Afghanistan Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) has requested India to resume commercial flights between the two countries.

The Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) is yet to take a decision in the matter. Reports said the Ministry of Civil Aviation will take a decision soon.

The last commercial flight between India and Afghanistan was operated by Air India on Kabul-Delhi route on August 15, the day Kabul fell to the Taliban. Afghanistan airspace was declared “uncontrolled” by the CAA on August 16.

The first international commercial flight after the Taliban takeover was operated between Islamabad and Kabul on September 13 by Pakistan International Airlines. Now, international flights out of Kabul are being operated to Pakistan and Iran.

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In a letter dated September 7, 2021, CAA’s Acting Minister Alhaj Hameedullah Akhunzada requested the DGCA to permit commercial flights of Ariana Afghan airline and Kam Air between India and Afghanistan.

Akhunzada wrote: “As you are well informed that recently the Kabul airport was damaged and (left) dysfunctional by American troops before their withdrawal. With the help of technical assistance by Qatar, the airport became operational once again and a NOTAM (notice to airmen) in this regard was issued on September 6. The intention of this letter is to keep the smooth passenger movement between two countries based on signed MoU and our national carriers (Ariana Afghan airline and Kam Air) aim to commence their scheduled flights. Therefore, Afghanistan CAA requests you to facilitate their commercial flights, Akhunzada noted. The civil aviation of Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan avails its highest assurance.”

As a neighbour of Afghanistan, India is naturally concerned about the recent changes in that country and their implications for the region, Foreign Secretary Harsh Vardhan Shringla had said on September 20. He demanded that Afghan territory should not be used for sheltering, training, planning or financing terrorist acts.

(With Agency inputs)

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