Middle East/North Africa

Taliban call for restored international flights to Afghanistan

The Taliban on Sunday called for international flights out of Afghanistan to resume, claiming that issues with the Kabul international airport have been resolved.

The Taliban's foreign ministry spokesman, Abdul Qahar Balkhi, said the absence of international flights has left many Afghans stranded abroad and prevented others from traveling for work and study, Reuters reported.

"As the problems at Kabul International Airport have been resolved and the airport is fully operational for domestic and international flights, the [Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan] assures all airlines of its full cooperation," said Balkhi.

Reuters noted that some airlines like Pakistan International Airlines have recently begun offering limited international flights in and out of Afghanistan, though the prices for tickets are significantly higher than they usually are.

The Kabul international airport was the site of the suicide bombing that killed dozens of Afghans and 13 U.S. service members during the final evacuations from the country after the Taliban took control. The airport has since been reopened with the help of teams from Qatar and Turkey, Reuter reported.

The Taliban's appeal for resumed international flights comes as it seeks to gain legitimacy and recognition on the international stage. The global community has thus far refrained from recognizing the militant group, which implemented strict policies when it ruled Afghanistan in the 90's.

Last week, a Taliban official said that executions and amputations would be returning as forms of criminal punishment in Afghanistan.

"Cutting off of hands is very necessary for security," said Mullah Nooruddin Turabi, one fo the founders of the Taliban.

The U.S. condemned this announcement, with State Department spokesperson Ned Price saying this form of punishment would represent "clear gross abuses of human rights."