The Afghan government on Sunday asked foreign airlines to restart commercial flight operations to and from Kabul, saying the problem at the capital’s airport had been resolved and the facility was “fully operational.”
The Islamists regained control of the war-torn country on August 15 following the collapse of the Western-backed Afghan government when American and allied forces withdrew from Afghanistan, ending nearly 20 years of military involvement in the conflict.
Kabul airport was closed to all commercial flights following the emergency evacuation of tens of thousands of foreigners and vulnerable Afghans after the Taliban took control of the capital Kabul.
The airport, which was damaged during the chaotic evacuation, has reopened to aid and chartered planes with technical assistance mainly from Qatar.
“As the issues at Kabul’s international airport are resolved and the airport is fully operational for domestic and international flights, the IEA ensures the full cooperation of all airlines,” said Abdul Qahar Balkhi, a spokesman for the newly appointed Taliban Foreign Ministry. Balkhi uses the acronym Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan (IEA), the name of the new Taliban government.
Balkhi said the suspension of international planes had left many Afghans stranded. “The majority of these Afghans are women, children, students, patients and traffickers who need to travel freely. Moreover, many Afghans who have international jobs or continue their education abroad are now facing difficulties in getting to their destination,” said Balkhi.
There was no immediate reaction to the Taliban’s call for foreign airlines to resume flight operations. A spokesman for Pakistan International Airlines PIA, when asked for a response, told VOA that the state-run airline was ready to restart commercial flights from Islamabad to Kabul, but that conditions on the ground were unfinished and “insurance rates were too high” to continue. flight operations.
Taliban Struggle for World Recognition
The Taliban’s call for foreign airlines to resume their flights comes as the group’s increasing diplomatic efforts to gain legitimacy or international recognition for their government, whose all-male cabinet, is also grappling with a severe economic crisis. The Islamist movement’s return to power has prompted America to block billions of dollars in funding for Kabul, while the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund have both cut off Afghanistan’s access to vital funding amid fears over the fate of Afghanistan’s human rights under Taliban rule.
The global community at large has not opened up to direct involvement with the Taliban, saying they are waiting to see if the fundamentalist movement respects human rights and runs government in an inclusive manner, unlike they did in 1996-2001. The Taliban at that time imposed a brutal justice system, forbidding women from working and entering public life, and not allowing girls to get an education. But they pledged to show a more tolerant government and respect for human rights, especially for women, and prevent Afghanistan from becoming a haven for international terrorists again.
China, Russia & Pakistan Call on World to Help Afghanistan
China, Russia and Pakistan have all moved to engage with the Taliban and have urged the world to help Afghanistan meet the pressing humanitarian needs of Afghans. These countries are demanding the disbursement of Afghan assets and the removal of other sanctions to prevent an economic crisis in the volatile nation. But they have also refrained from recognizing the Taliban government until it fulfills its commitments.
Chinese Ambassador to Kabul Wang Yu on Sunday (26/9) held a meeting with Taliban Foreign Minister Amir Khan Muttaqi, and renewed China’s call to help the country. In a post-meeting joke, Balkhi said Wang Yu stressed “the need for humanitarian aid and cooperation with Afghanistan, and increased trade between the two countries.” [em/jm]