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Taliban urge international airlines to resume flights to Afghanistan as issues resolved

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
The file photo shows passengers boarding an aircraft at the Hamid Karzai International airport.

The Taliban have called for the resumption of international flights to the Afghan capital Kabul, saying all technical issues at the Hamid Karzai International airport have been resolved, amid some signs of normalcy following the group’s takeover of the country last month.

Abdul Qahar Balkhi, Taliban-appointed spokesman for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs made the remarks in a statement on Sunday, expressing hope that proper commercial services would resume shortly.

"The airport is fully operational for domestic and international flights," he said, adding that the Taliban interim government “assures all airlines of its full cooperation and expects all airlines and countries that had previously flown to Kabul to resume their flights as before."

He further noted that the suspension of international flights had left many Afghans stranded abroad and also prevented people from travelling for work or study.

"Many Afghan citizens were stuck outside and unable to return to their homeland," the spokesman said.

"Moreover, many Afghan citizens who have international employment or pursue education abroad are now facing difficulties in reaching their destinations," he added.

Kabul airport’s facilities were badly damaged in the wake of a chaotic US evacuation of 124,000 foreigners.

The airport had been closed since the end of the messy US-led airlift of its citizens and other Western nationals on August 30, and only a limited number of aid and passenger flights have been operating –namely from Iran and Pakistan.   

The Kabul airport services were restored mostly with the assistance of technical teams from Qatar and Turkey.

Since taking power, the Taliban have grappled with a severe economic crisis and faced pressure over protection of human rights, including the rights of women.  

The government of Afghanistan rapidly collapsed on August 15 and president Ashraf Ghani fled the country in the face of the lightning advances of the Taliban that followed US President Joe Biden’s decision to fully withdraw the American troops in a disastrous pullout.

On September 7, the Taliban announced the formation of a caretaker government.

The Taliban first ruled Afghanistan from 1996 to 2001 until the United States invaded the country and toppled the Taliban-run government in 2001 on the pretext of fighting terrorism following the September 11 attacks in the US.

Western countries and international financial organizations have suspended aid to Afghanistan, depriving it of billions of dollars needed to finance vital food imports, as the Taliban have not yet been recognized by the international community.

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