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Kabul airport reopens to receive aid, domestic flights restart: report

Kabul airport had been closed since the end of the massive US-led evacuation. (Source: AFP)

DUBAI: A technical team has managed to reopen Kabul airport to receive aid, while domestic flights have resumed, Qatar’s ambassador to Afghanistan said on Saturday.

“The airport’s runway has been repaired in cooperation with authorities in Afghanistan,” Al Jazeera news channel reported while quoting the ambassador as saying. The report said two domestic flights were operated from Kabul to the cities of Mazar-i-Sharif and Kandahar.

Reopening the airport, a vital lifeline with both the outside world and across Afghanistan’s mountainous territory has been a high priority for the Taliban as they seek to restore order after their lightning seizure of Kabul on Aug. 15.

Kabul airport had been closed since the end of the massive US-led airlift of its citizens, other Western nationals and Afghans who helped Western countries. The end of that operation marked the withdrawal of the last US forces after 20 years of war.

Thousands of people wanting to leave Afghanistan, fearful of life under Taliban rule, were left behind when the evacuation operation ended at the end of August. The Taliban has promised safe passage for those wanting to leave.

Qatar’s Foreign Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al-Thani, speaking at a joint news conference with Britain’s Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab in Doha on Thursday, said the Gulf state was talking to the Taliban and working with Turkey for potential technical support to restart operations in Kabul airport.