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Afghanistan: First foreign commercial flight lands in Kabul since Taliban takeover

"There was hardly anyone on the plane, around 10 people... maybe more staff than passengers," said an AFP journalist aboard the flight from Islamabad.

Afghanistan First foreign commercial flight lands in Kabul since Taliban takeover-dnm
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Kabul, First Published Sep 13, 2021, 2:29 PM IST
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Nearly a month after the Taliban gained control over Kabul and overthrew the Afghan government, the war-torn country is slowly limping back to normalcy as a Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) plane carrying a handful of passengers touched down at Kabul airport Monday.

It is the first international commercial flight to land since the Taliban retook power in Afghanistan on August 15.

"There was hardly anyone on the plane, around 10 people... maybe more staff than passengers," said an AFP journalist aboard the flight from Islamabad.

A PIA spokesman said at the weekend that the airline was keen to resume regular commercial services, but it was too soon to say how frequently flights between the two capitals would operate, AFP reported.

A chaotic evacuation of more than 120,000 people left the Kabul airport severely damaged as US forces ended their withdrawa on August 30. The Taliban have been scrambling to get it operating again with technical assistance from Qatar and other nations.

Also read: Taliban spokesperson takes dig at US, says 'resided in Kabul right under everyone's nose'

Qatar Airways operated several charter flights out of Kabul last week, carrying mostly foreigners and Afghans who missed out on the evacuation.

An Afghan airline resumed domestic services on September 3.

Meanwhile, the Taliban took a dig at the US as Zabiullah Mujahid, the Taliban's spokesperson, stated during a news conference after the rebel group captured Kabul last month that he resided in the Afghan capital right under the nose of his opponents, who considered him a "ghost-like" figure during the battle.

Mujahid stated in an interview that the US and Afghan National Forces used to believe he did not exist. He claimed to have evaded their raids several times. The 43-year-old commander went on to say that he was able to roam freely around Afghanistan. "I stayed in Kabul for a long time, right under everyone's eyes; I toured the length and breadth of the nation; I also had first-hand access to the frontlines, where the Taliban carried out their operations, and up-to-date information; it was very perplexing for our opponents," he continued.

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