First flight carrying passengers leaves Kabul since US pullout

Afghanistan updates

A global flight carrying passengers, together with People, has flown out of Kabul airport for the primary time because the US accomplished its withdrawal from Afghanistan 10 days in the past.

A US official confirmed that People have been on board a Qatar Airways flight, which took off on Thursday after Qatar and Turkey reached an settlement with the Taliban to assist present safety at Kabul airport.

It isn’t recognized who was on board however one particular person briefed on the talks between Qatar, Turkey and the Taliban anticipated there have been about 200 folks on the flight.

“We don’t assume [these flights] will likely be common but, however we’re working in the direction of that,” the particular person mentioned. “Now we have an settlement on safety when it comes to ensuring it’s protected, however we’re nonetheless attempting to iron out all the things.”

Mutlaq al-Qahtani, Qatar’s particular envoy to Afghanistan, advised reporters that Kabul airport was about 90 per cent prepared for operations, however added that its reopening was “deliberate progressively”.

“This can be a historic day within the historical past of Afghanistan as Kabul airport is totally operational,” Qahtani was quoted as saying by Al Jazeera, the Qatari-funded tv community. “Now we have been confronted by large challenges . . . however we will now say that the airport is match for navigation”.

The particular person briefed on the discussions between Qatar, Turkey and the Taliban mentioned Doha hoped to function a second flight on Friday.

Passengers inside Kabul airport before boarding the Qatar Airways flight
Passengers inside Kabul airport earlier than boarding the Qatar Airways flight © AFP by way of Getty Pictures

The reopening of the airport has been thought-about an pressing precedence for western and regional powers attributable to fears that hundreds of Afghans weak to reprisals from the Taliban can be stranded.

US officers have argued that the Taliban should abide by its commitments to let People go away the nation whether it is to have any hope of securing worldwide assist.

The resumption of worldwide flights can also be deemed essential for flying in much-needed humanitarian help to Afghanistan after the Taliban seized energy final month and the Afghan authorities collapsed.

Qatar, which hosts a Taliban political workplace in Doha and has develop into the principle facilitator of engagement between the Islamist motion and western powers, dispatched a technical staff to assist reopen the airport final week.

The primary concern has been how to make sure that safety in and across the airport is safely managed to forestall extremists attacking the transport hub or accessing flights. Over the past days of the US pullout, jihadi group Isis-Ok claimed accountability for a suicide assault that killed not less than 170 folks, together with 13 American troops.

The flights on Thursday have been going down as Taliban fighters on excessive alert patrolled Kabul and different cities after the brand new authorities banned unauthorised protests. The Islamist motion, which introduced an interim authorities on Tuesday, imposed the ban late on Wednesday after days of demonstrations by Afghan girls and opposition supporters.

The inside ministry mentioned protesters would wish authorities permission and need to share their plans and even slogans with authorities prematurely. “Violators will face extreme authorized motion,” it mentioned.

It was one of many first acts by Afghanistan’s new Taliban government because it cemented its management over the nation following the US withdrawal final month. The transfer dismayed critics who mentioned the Taliban was erasing primary rights and reinstating repressive observe. There had been hope that the Islamists may show extra reasonable than once they first ran Afghanistan within the Nineteen Nineties.

The Taliban on Tuesday unveiled a caretaker cupboard dominated by hardliners and ideologues, together with members going through UN sanctions or on the FBI’s most wished listing, ignoring western requires a various authorities that included girls and non-Taliban leaders.

Afghanistan has confronted a wave of protest throughout the nation this week, many led by girls demanding rights and illustration within the all-male authorities. Various girls protesters have been crushed by Taliban fighters, in keeping with the BBC.

The Taliban had beforehand mentioned that girls’s rights can be revered as per Islamic legislation. However the UN and others have warned that native Taliban leaders in some provinces are banning them from work and schooling, because it did throughout the nation within the Nineteen Nineties.

Various journalists masking an indication by Afghan girls in Kabul on Wednesday have been arrested and crushed by Taliban fighters earlier than being launched, in keeping with their accounts and social media pictures.

Overseas leaders and diplomats had argued that the Taliban might show extra reasonable this time, which might assist pave the best way for the resumption of help and safety co-operation. However these hopes are quick fading.

Antony Blinken, US secretary of state, on Wednesday mentioned the international community was “involved” by the Taliban’s new cupboard.

The inside ministry which has banned protests is now led by Sirajuddin Haqqani, a senior member of the Taliban-affiliated Haqqani community that has historic ties to al-Qaeda. The US has designated it a terrorist group and Sirajuddin Haqqani is on the FBI’s most wished listing with a $10m bounty.

Extra reporting by Fazelminallah Qazizai in Kabul

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