ISLAMABAD: A Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) plane carrying foreign journalists arrived in Kabul on Monday, the first international flight to land in Afghanistan since the Taliban returned to power last month, Pakistan's national air carrier said.
For several weeks after the Taliban captured Kabul on August 15, the United States and its allies engaged in a massive effort to evacuate tens of thousands of officials, diplomats and civilians. The Taliban took control of Kabul airport on August 31, the deadline for the US troop withdrawal.
“PIA staff took international journalists to Kabul [from Islamabad] and brought back a team from the World Bank and international news agencies,” PIA spokesperson Abdullah Hafeez Khan said in a statement. “This was the first international passenger flight since the new government took office in Kabul. The purpose of the flight is to promote goodwill between Pakistan and Afghanistan and to strengthen the operation on the basis of humanitarian sympathy.”
The spokesperson said the flight was possible because of the efforts of Pakistan’s envoy in Kabul and other diplomatic staff, adding that special arrangements were made for Afghan Civil Aviation and local PIA staff to restore services at Kabul Airport
“Trained airport staff joined duty and handled the flight,” Khan said.
PIA launched special flights to Kabul to help evacuate stranded Pakistanis and staff at foreign embassies, media and other institutions just a day after the Taliban seized the Afghan capital. However, the special flights were suspended temporarily on August 25 due to security concerns.