(AFP) – : Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) will restart commercial flights from Islamabad to Kabul next week, becoming the first foreign commercial carrier to resume scheduled service to Kabul Hamid Karzai International Airport since the Taliban’s takeover of the country.
Kabul airport was severely damaged during a chaotic evacuation of over 120,000 people that ended with the withdrawal of U.S. forces on Aug. 30. The Taliban have been scrambling to get it operating again with Qatari technical assistance.
“We have got all technical clearances for flight operations,” PIA spokesman Abdullah Hafeez Khan told Agence France-Presse (AFP).
“Our first commercial plane … is scheduled to fly from Islamabad to Kabul on September 13.”
Khan said the service would depend on demand.
“We have received 73 requests, which is very encouraging … from humanitarian relief agencies and journalists,” he said.
In the last two days, Qatar Airways has operated two charter flights out of Kabul, carrying mostly foreigners and Afghans who missed being taken out during the evacuation.
An Afghan airline resumed domestic flights last week.