The Taliban is asking airlines to resume international flights to Afghanistan

Taliban soldiers stand in front of a sign at Kabul International Airport, Afghanistan, September 9, 2021. WANA (West Asia News Agency) via REUTERS

September 26 (Reuters) – The Taliban government in Afghanistan on Sunday appealed to resume international flights, promising full cooperation with the airlines, saying the problems at Kabul airport had been resolved.

The statement from the Foreign Ministry comes as the new administration has stepped up efforts to open up the country and gain international acceptance following the collapse of the Western-backed government last month.

A limited number of auxiliary and passenger flights have been in operation from the airport. But normal commercial services have not yet resumed since it was shut down in the wake of the chaotic evacuation of tens of thousands of foreigners and vulnerable Afghans that followed the Taliban’s seizure of the capital.

The airport, which was damaged during the evacuation, has since been reopened with the assistance of technical teams from Qatar and Turkey.

While some airlines, including Pakistan International Airlines, have offered limited services and some people have been able to get seats on flights, prices have been reported to be many times higher than normal.

Foreign Ministry spokesman Abdul Qahar Balkhi said the suspension of international flights had left many Afghans stranded abroad and also prevented people from traveling to work or study.

“Once the problems at Kabul International Airport have been resolved and the airport is fully operational for domestic and international flights, the IEA assures all airlines of its full cooperation,” he said, using an abbreviation for Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan, the Taliban’s term for their new government.

Since taking power, the Taliban have struggled with a severe economic crisis and have been under pressure from issues ranging from girls’ education to accusations of reprisals against former officials and others linked to the previous government.

Reporting by James Mackenzie Editing by Frances Kerry

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