Pakistan will become the first country to restart flights to Kabul after the Taliban came back to power, a Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) spokesperson said on Saturday (September 11).
The PIA flights will resume services between Islamabad and Kabul starting next week. Qatar operated two chartered flights, mostly carrying Afghans and foreigners, who missed a flight out of the troubled country before August 30. An Afghan airline too restarted domestic flights last week.
The Kabul airport bore the brunt of the chaos that followed the withdrawal of the US army, which completed the evacuation of over 1,20,000 people by August 30. A suicide attack at the airport on August 26 killed 60 Afghans and 13 US troops, besides causing extensive damage to the airport infrastructure. The Taliban have been struggling to make the airport operational since then with help from Qatar.
“We have got all technical clearances for flight operations. Our first commercial plane… is scheduled to fly from Islamabad to Kabul on September 13,” PIA spokesman Abdullah Hafeez Khan told AFP.
On the frequency of the service, Khan said that would depend on demand. “We have received 73 requests which is very encouraging… from humanitarian relief agencies and journalists,” he said.