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PIA operates first chartered flight to Kabul since Taliban takeover

The Boeing 777 departed from Islamabad as a commercial flight chartered by the World Bank. Source: PIA.

ISLAMABAD: The first chartered commercial flight by Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) landed at Kabul Airport on Monday after the new interim setup in Afghanistan.

The PIA crew took foreign journalists to Kabul and returned with a team of the World Bank and international media organizations. This was the first international passenger flight after the Taliban took control of the control last month.

The Boeing 777 with the flight number PK 6429 departed from Islamabad, Pakistan, as a commercial flight chartered by the World Bank, carrying officials from the bank and journalists. The aircraft later returned to Islamabad.

In a statement, Chief Executive Officer PIA Air Marshal Arshad Malik said the objective of the flight is to promote goodwill between Pakistan and Afghanistan. “This operation is very important for the PIA and the whole world. We hope that we will be able to resume a complete operation soon,” he said.

He said this flight operation is very important for PIA and the entire world. The PIA CEO expressed hope that the flight operation would soon be fully restored. 

“It was a special chartered commercial flight,” airline spokesman Abdullah Khan told a news agency. “We also accommodated other individuals who wanted to leave Afghanistan since we had space on the plane.” He added that it was a commercial flight that operated through regular airport infrastructure, which had been restored.

Around 70 people were on the flight to Islamabad, mostly Afghans who were relatives of staffers with international organisations such as the World Bank, according to airport ground staff.

The resumption of commercial flights will be a key test for the Taliban, who have repeatedly promised to allow Afghans with the right documents to leave the country freely.

As passengers prepared to board, airport staff went about their duties, although working under the new regime is marred by fear and confusion for women. Qatar Airways ran a chartered flight from Kabul to Doha on September 9 carrying about 113 people.