Domestic flights resume at Kabul airport
Domestic flights resumed on Saturday at the Kabul airport, which had closed following the massive U.S. evacuation effort.
Ariana Afghan Airlines announced on Facebook that it was resuming domestic flights between Kabul and Herat in the west, Mazar-i Sharif in the north and Kandahar in the south.
“Ariana Afghan Airlines is proud to resume its domestic flights,” the company wrote, according to Reuters.
Qatar’s ambassador to Afghanistan said a technical team was able to reopen to the Hamid Karzai International Airport so it could receive aid and be prepared for civilian flights, Al Jazeera reported on Saturday.
The ambassador said the airport’s runway was repaired in collaboration with authorities in Afghanistan.
The airport is operating without radar or navigation systems, The Washington Post noted, which is making international civilian flights more difficult to resume. International flights are a crucial part of helping refugees leave the country.
The Qatari foreign minister, however, said Qatari technical officials readied the airport to conduct international humanitarian flights, according to the Post.
Reopening the airport was a high priority for the Taliban after it seized control of Kabul last month, the tipping point in its quick military offensive in the country, Reuters reported.
It was also near the scene of the suicide bombing last month, which took the lives of 13 U.S. service members and more than 100 Afghans.
The insurgent group claimed that it entered the Panjshir Valley over the weekend — the final remaining holdout region in the country — as it discusses plans for a new government in Afghanistan.
The U.S. completed its troop withdrawal from Afghanistan at the end of August, pulling more than 120,000 individuals from the region in a matter of weeks and ending America’s longest war after 20 years of military involvement.