For the first time since the Taliban seized power on August 15, a commercial flight landed on Monday at Kabul airport in Afghanistan. This plane of the Pakistani company PIA landed around 10:30 am local (06:00 GMT). “There was hardly anyone on board the plane, around 10 people (…), maybe more crew members than passengers”, said an AFP journalist on board this flight in from Islamabad.
On Sunday, a spokesperson for the PIA confirmed this first flight to Kabul, specifying, however, that the company was still working to make them regular. “This is an important moment, a day of hope,” said an employee of the Kabul airport, hoping that other companies would quickly follow the PIA’s example and fly back to Kabul.
The airport under full Taliban control
After the sudden resumption of power by the Taliban, the Western allies of the ousted government, led by the United States, organized a gigantic airlift at Kabul airport which in total evacuated more than 123,000 people, mainly Afghans. The chaotic and desperate expectation of the Afghans took a dramatic turn on August 26 when the local branch of ISIS (IS-K) carried out an attack amid the crowds, killing more than 100 people.
The Taliban have since taken full control of the airport, assisted in particular by their allies in Qatar, and signs of a return to normal have multiplied for ten days. Two charter flights operated by Qatar Airways took off last week with foreign nationals and Afghans on board who could not be evacuated at first. On September 3, the Afghan public airline Ariana Airlines also announced the resumption of its domestic flights.