Taliban ask India to resume commercial flights to Afghanistan, writes to DGCA

The Taliban-controlled Afghanistan Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) has written to Indian aviation regulator DGCA to resume commercial flights between the countries. The Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) is yet to take a decision in the matter. India last operated an Indian Air Force flight out of Kabul on August 21 to evacuate its citizens.

India had stopped all commercial flight operations to Kabul post August 15. The last commercial flight between India and Afghanistan was operated by Air India on the Kabul-Delhi route on August 15, the day Kabul fell to the Taliban. Afghanistan airspace was declared “uncontrolled” by the CAA on August 16. In a letter dated September 7, 2021, CAA’s Acting Minister Alhaj Hameedullah Akhunzada requested the DGCA to permit commercial flights of Ariana Afghan airline and Kam Air between India and Afghanistan. Akhunzada stated in his letter: “As you are well informed that recently the Kabul airport was damaged and (left) dysfunctional by American troops before their withdrawal.” With the help of technical assistance by Qatar, the airport became operational once again and a NOTAM (notice to airmen) in this regard was issued on September 6. Before writing to India, the Taliban had appealed to international countries to resume flights promising full cooperation with airlines and saying that problems at Kabul airport had been resolved.

After the Taliban had seized the most crucial provinces of Afghanistan in August, major airlines had expressed reluctance to use the airspace of the war-torn country. The Taliban had come under serious international pressure after it barred Afghans from leaving the nation, shutting off all routes to the Kabul Airport.