Since the Taliban takeover of Afghanistan last month, an international commercial flight for the first time left Kabul on Monday, offering some hope to Afghans desperate to leave the war-torn nation, AFP reported.
After the US led forces completed a chaotic evacuation, the Kabul airport was left trashed. More than 120,000 people, and the Taliban have since then struggled to get the capital’s airport operational with technical assistance from Qatar and several other countries.
A Pakistan International Airlines jet touched down in Kabul on Monday morning, before returning the flight to Islamabad.
According to AFP, there were nearly 70 people on the flight to Pakistan’s capital, most of them were Afghans, relatives of staffers with international organisations like the World Bank.
The resumption of commercial flights is a key test for the hardline group, who repeatedly promised to allow the Afghan citizens with the right documents to leave the nation freely.
Although working under the new regime is marred by fear and mostly confusion for women, passengers prepared to board while airport staff went about their duties.
Several NATO nations have admitted they had run out of time to evacuate thousands of Afghans at risk before the pullout deadline, agreed between the US and the Taliban.
Last week, several charter flights were operated by Qatar Airways out of Kabul, mostly carrying foreigners and Afghans who were missed in the evacuation.
Meanwhile, on September 3, an Afghan airline resumed domestic services.
After the hardline Islamist group rolled into the capital on August 15, passenger halls, air bridges and technical infrastructure were badly damaged.
Tens of thousands of Afghans fear vengeance for helping foreign forces during US occupation, but the Taliban say that they have given a general amnesty to everyone including the security troops they had fought against.
However, this time the Taliban have vowed to provide a milder form of rule, but have crushed dissent, including firing in the air to disperse recent protests by women calling for the right to education and work.