Pakistani Ambassador Expects Int'l Commercial Flights To Kabul To Restart In 2 Weeks

ST. PETERSBURG (Pakistan Point News / Sputnik - 22nd September, 2021) International flights are expected to restart from Kabul in the following two weeks as the work is underway to restore the capital's only airport and bring in up to the standards set by the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), Mansoor Ahmad Khan, the Pakistani ambassador to Afghanistan, told Sputnik.

During the evacuations after Afghanistan's takeover by the Taliban (terrorist organization, banned in Russia) in August, both civil and military facilities in the Kabul airport were significantly damaged, according to the ambassador. Qatar and Turkey have been in contact with the Taliban since the withdrawal of foreign forces concerning the restoration of the airport's operations, he said.

"So far commercial flights have not yet started because some airport's facilities, according to the ICAO standards, still require some work. I have been told that in the coming week or so these facilities will be there at a required level," Khan said in an interview.

He further noted that in the past weeks, special humanitarian flights have already been coming to the Kabul airport, while Pakistan has launched charter flights.

"As soon as facilities are restored in a week or two week, the commercial flights will be restored and not only Pakistani airlines, but many other countries would also be ready to start their operation," Khan added.

After gaining complete control of the country, the Taliban officials said they would resume international flights and allow safe passage for Afghans who wish to leave the country in a bid to gain international legitimacy.

On Monday, a source in the Afghan Civil Aviation Authority told Sputnik that Kabul airport had officially opened for domestic and international commercial flights, accepting flights from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. local time.

Earlier in the month, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Igor Morgulov told Sputnik that Moscow and partners planned to hold an extended Troika meeting on Afghanistan (including Russia, China, the United States, and Pakistan) in Kabul when air traffic resumes.