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PIA to restart Islamabad-Kabul commercial flights from Monday

The spokesman said the service would depend on demand. (Source: Reuters)

ISLAMABAD: The Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) will resume commercial flights from Islamabad to Kabul next week, a spokesman told international news agency AFP on Saturday, becoming the first foreign commercial service since the Taliban seized power.

“We have got all technical clearances for flight operations,” PIA spokesman Abdullah Hafeez Khan told AFP. “Our first commercial plane is scheduled to fly from Islamabad to Kabul on September 13.”

The spokesman said the service would depend on demand. “We have received 73 requests which are very encouraging from humanitarian relief agencies and journalists,” he added.

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.

Kabul airport was severely damaged during a chaotic evacuation of over 120,000 people that ended with the withdrawal of US forces on August 30. The Taliban have been scrambling to get it operating again with Qatari technical assistance.

The PIA had on Aug 16 suspended its flights to Afghanistan due to the uncertain security situation in the war-ravaged country and the mess prevailing at Kabul airport’s apron.