Pakistan to restart commercial flights to Kabul
A Taliban fighter stands guard next to an Ariana Afghan Airlines aircraft on the tarmac at the airport in Kabul on September 12, 2021. (Photo by KARIM SAHIB/AFP via Getty Images)
PAKISTAN International Airlines (PIA) will resume flights from Islamabad to Kabul next week, a spokesman said Saturday (11), making it the first foreign commercial service since the Taliban seized power last month.
Kabul airport was severely damaged during a chaotic evacuation of over 120,000 people that ended with the withdrawal of US forces on August 30. The Taliban have been scrambling to get it operational again with Qatari technical assistance.
“We have got all technical clearances for flight operations,” PIA spokesman Abdullah Hafeez Khan said.
“Our first commercial plane… is scheduled to fly from Islamabad to Kabul on September 13.”
Khan said the service would depend on demand.
“We have received 73 requests which is very encouraging… from humanitarian relief agencies and journalists,” he said.
In the last two days, Qatar Airways has operated two charter flights out of Kabul, carrying mostly foreigners and Afghans who missed being taken out during the evacuation.
An Afghan airline resumed domestic flights last week.