Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) announced that it has decided to resume commercial flights to Kabul starting from Monday onwards, the first since the Taliban takeover of Afghanistan. “The official flag carrier of Pakistan is going to start again its flight operations for Kabul,” Arshad Malik, CEO of the PIA, told Xinhua news agency on Saturday.
Malik added that the first flight will leave for the Afghan capital on Monday from Islamabad. A PIA spokesman said at the weekend that the airline was keen to resume regular commercial services, but it was too soon to say how frequently flights between the two capitals would operate. The PIA official said that permission to land at the Kabul airport has been granted by Afghanistan’s Civil Aviation Authority. Meanwhile, PIA’s Spokesman Abdullah Hafeez Khan said that Pakistan has got all the technical clearance for flight operations, and an Airbus A320 jet is scheduled to take passengers from Islamabad to Kabul. Kabul airport was severely damaged during a chaotic evacuation of more than 120,000 people that ended with the withdrawal of US forces on August 30. The Taliban have been scrambling to get it operating again with technical assistance from Qatar and other nations. Qatar Airways operated several charter flights out of Kabul last week, carrying mostly foreigners and Afghans who missed out on the evacuation. An Afghan airline resumed domestic services on September 3.