Pakistan resumes flights to Kabul


The Hindu

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Pakistan resumes flights to Kabul

After the visit of Pakistan’s intelligence chief Faiz Hameed’s to Kabul, a day marked by protests in the country, and after the Taliban announced a news government and invited China, Russia, Pakistan, Iran, Turkey and Qatar to the inaugural, Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) announced that it will resume flights from Islamabad to Kabul next week, becoming the first foreign commercial service since the Taliban seized power last month.

Kabul airport was severely damaged during a chaotic evacuation of over 1,20,000 people that ended with the withdrawal of U.S. forces on August 30. The Taliban have been scrambling to get it operating again with Qatari technical assistance.

“We have got all technical clearances for flight operations,” PIA spokesman Abdullah Hafeez Khan told AFP. “Our first commercial plane... is scheduled to fly from Islamabad to Kabul on September 13,” Khan said adding that 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.

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