Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) said Saturday it was “keen to restart” commercial flights from Islamabad to Kabul, the capital of Afghanistan, but no final decision has been made.
A spokesman for the national carrier, Abdullah Hafeez, told VOA that media reports suggesting the flight operation would resume from Monday are not correct. He explained that some entities in the Afghan capital have contacted and requested PIA to run charter flights, prompting the airline to seek permission do that.
“We had actually applied for a charter flight permission to Kabul that was taken up by media and they actually said PIA is now resuming its regular flight operation from Sept 13, which is not the case,” Hafeez clarified.
He said “certain arrangements” have to be in place before the flight operation could actually resume and those arrangements have not yet been made.” Hafeez did not elaborate further.
Meanwhile, officials said Saturday that a third flight carrying relief assistance from the Pakistani government landed in Afghanistan.
Pakistan’s relief assistance in food and medicines delivered to provincial authorities of Khost for the people of Khost @SMQureshiPTI @fawadchaudhry @ForeignOfficePk @FMPublicDiploPK @PakinAfg pic.twitter.com/3doY2V3DZl
— Mansoor Ahmad Khan (@ambmansoorkhan) September 11, 2021
Kabul’s international airport was severely damaged during a chaotic emergency evacuation of more than 120,000 people, including American and Western nationals, that ended with the withdrawal of US forces just before midnight local time on August 30.
The Taliban, who regained power in Kabul on August 15, have been scrambling to get the airport operating again with technical assistance from Qatar and the UAE. An Afghan airline resumed domestic flights last week.
Qatar Airways has operated charter flights out of Kabul this week, carrying more than 250 foreign nationals. The passengers, including dozens of Americans, were unable to catch the chaotic emergency airlifts to leave the country.
(This story has been published from Voice of America feed without modifications to the text)