Friday, September 24

Evacuations resume in Kabul with the departure of the first flight since the US withdrawal

The first flight from the Hamid Karzai airport in Kabul left this Thursday for the capital of Qatar, Doha, with 115 passengers on board a plane of the Qatari airline Qatar Airways, the Al Jazeera chain has reported.

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It is the first “regular” international flight that takes off from the airport in the Afghan capital since the departure of the last US soldiers on August 31.

The 115 passengers on board the Qatar Airways airliner “are largely Afghan nationals,” but “some of them have other nationalities,” the chain added.

On the other hand, he has indicated that the new Taliban government has given the green light for the travel of about 200 passengers from the United States and other nationalities, without specifying details.

The Qatari government envoy to Kabul, Mutlaq al Qahtani, has stated in statements to his country’s radio station from Kabul airport that “for the first time there will be international commercial or charter flights with Afghan passengers” who have the necessary documents to travel. .

“The Kabul airport is fully operational. Our first concern is the safety of air navigation (…). However, I can clearly say that this is a historic day in the history of Afghanistan, as the Kabul airport it is already operational, “he added.

“We are not talking about evacuation, but about free movement (…) Those people who have a passport or travel documents and a card to get on the plane will be able to travel,” the envoy detailed.

He also stressed that the important thing at the moment is “the safety of international flights” and added that “the airport is ready” to operate again, although “gradually”.

Al Jazeera has shown some Afghan passengers who are preparing to travel to various international destinations by doing the usual procedures in the airport lounges. The chain has said that the passengers themselves were the ones who bought the tickets.

This would be the first flight with foreign nationals on board, since the end of evacuation operations on August 30, when US troops handed over control of the airport to the Taliban and left Kabul.

Washington has evacuated some 6,000 Americans and some 124,000 civilians including Afghan collaborators and citizens of other countries aboard US and allied military flights through the Kabul airport.

Many made a stopover in Qatar, at the Al Udeid air base, the main US base in the Persian Gulf, and several dozen Afghan evacuees have been temporarily welcomed by Doha.

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