First civilian flight from Kabul, after taking over by Taliban, lands in Doha

Around 100 passengers arrived in Doha after flying from Kabul airport on Thursday, on the first flight ferrying out foreigners since a US-led evacuation ended. The event marked an important step in the Islamist group’s efforts to bring a degree of normality back to a country facing economic collapse and a humanitarian crisis.

About 113 passengers were on board, including US, Canadian, Ukrainian, German and British citizens, a source with knowledge of the matter said. The flight, operated by state-owned Qatar Airways, later landed at Doha’s Hamad International Airport. The source said the passengers were taken to Kabul airport in a Qatari convoy after safe passage was agreed. In Doha, they will initially stay in a compound hosting Afghan and other evacuees. Qatar’s special envoy to Afghanistan, Mutlaq al-Qahtani, called it a “historic day” for the airport. There would also be a flight on Friday (September 10), he said. Qatar, a major transit point for Afghan refugees, has said it worked with Turkey to swiftly resume operations at Kabul’s airport to allow the flow of people and aid. Qatar has acted as the central intermediary between the Taliban and the international community in recent years. The US also welcomed the completion of the landmark flight.