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Afghanistan: Pakistan International Airlines’ first flight since the withdrawal of foreign troops from Kabul


PIA spokesman Abdullah Khan said in a statement that the service was a “special flight” to create “goodwill” with the Afghan people and to “strengthen humanitarian efforts”.

The spokesperson told CNN that it was “not an aid theft.” PIA said the flight was handled by Kabul airport staff and their name and flight number were displayed on signs at the airport.

However, it was not immediately clear whether it could be described as a “commercial” flight, as it is not clear whether people were actually able to purchase tickets for the plane.

PIA CEO Arshad Malik said the company would “hopefully” be able to restore all services soon.

With two Qatar Airways passenger jets, both carrying more than 100 foreign nationals, which took off from Kabul and landed in Doha last week, this flight signals that at least some foreign nationals who wish to leave Afghanistan will be able to do so. , few weeks later. of uncertainty.

Civilians have struggled to find safe passage from the country since the Taliban takeover in mid-August confused the US-led evacuation effort.

The United States, along with a hundred other countries, has said it will keep the Taliban on its promises to allow people to leave the country after the US withdrawal. The return of commercial flights is a key part of this promise.

PIA said the Boeing 777 left Islamabad, the capital of Pakistan, at 6:45 a.m. local time after special arrangements were made by Afghan civil aviation authorities and PIA staff.

Foreign journalists visited the Afghan capital during the flight while World Bank workers were flown back to Islamabad on the return, the spokesperson told CNN. PIA’s COO, Air Commodore Jawad Zafar, was also on board.

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