First commercial flights since Taliban takeover resume
The first international commercial flights from Kabul airport since the Taliban takeover of Afghanistan have resumed with flights connecting Doha to the Afghan capital, a Qatari official said on Thursday.
"We are proud to announce for the first time that there will be direct flights from Doha to Kabul," Mutlaq Al-Qahtani, the Qatari special envoy for Counterterrorism and Mediation in Conflict Resolution, told a press conference held at Kabul Airport.
"These are commercial flights booked by locals from Kabul to Doha, and then to their final destinations," Al-Qahtani said.
He confirmed that a Qatar Airways flight arriving in Doha on Thursday was the first of the newly opened air route, stressing that it was not an evacuation flight.
However, Taliban officials said that American citizens and other foreign nationals were on board the flight, which came following negotiations with Washington.
Al-Qahtani praised the arrival of humanitarian aid at Afghanistan's main transit hub, singling out the efforts of Doha and other Gulf states.
Meanwhile, the Qatari technical team working alongside Turkish partners to repair the airport said the process was 90% complete. The airport was severely damaged following the chaotic international evacuation in the wake of the Taliban takeover.
"The repair of Kabul airport is 90% complete, but there are still some technical issues which cannot be addressed. However most of the facilities are working," said Mohamed Noami, a member of the Qatari technical team. He did not specify which issues were unresolved.