First foreign commercial flight in Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan takes place.
A Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) aircraft touched down at Kabul airport on Monday, making it the first international commercial flight to arrive in the city since the Taliban takeover on August 15.
The re-opening of the airport marks a large milestone for the Taliban, who have repeatedly promised to allow Afghans with the right documents to leave the country freely.
With help from the Qatari government, the Taliban have been able to reopen Hamid Karzai International Airport for commercial flights a lot sooner than expected.
“This is a big moment. We are very excited,” said one airport employee, dressed in a blue shalwar kameez and orange high-visibility vest.
“It’s a hopeful day. Maybe other airlines will see this and decide to come back.”
Only a handful of passengers were onboard the flight from Islamabad, however, the return flight back to Pakistan was reportedly busy.
A PIA spokesman said the airline was keen to resume regular commercial services, but was too soon to say how frequently flights between the two capitals would operate.
Passenger halls, airbridges and general airport technical infrastructure were badly damaged by Afghans eager to flee the country when the Taliban arrived in the city.