KABUL: Some 200 passengers, including US citizens, left Kabul airport on Thursday, on the primary flight carrying foreigners out of the Afghan capital since a US-led evacuation ended on Aug 30.
The flight to Doha comes because the Taliban continue their transition from insurgents to governing power, but a month after they marched into Kabul and ousted former president Ashraf Ghani.
Thursday afternoon’s Qatar Airways flight took some 200 people from Kabul airport — the primary since a mammoth, chaotic airlift of quite 120,000 people came to a dramatic close with the US pullout.
An Afghan-American dual citizen, waiting to board the flight together with his family, said the US State Department had called him within the morning and told him to travel to the airport.
Taliban government says prior authorization must be for staging demonstrations
“We came in contact with the State Department, they gave me a call this morning and said to travel to the airport,” the daddy, who asked to not be named, said.
In the days that followed the Taliban’s blitz, the airport had become a tragic symbol of desperation among Afghans scared of the Taliban’s return to power — with thousands of individuals crowding around its gates daily, and a few even clinging to jets as they took off.
More than 100 people were killed, including 13 US troops, during a suicide attack on Aug 26 near the airport that was claimed by the militant Islamic State group’s local chapter.
Footage broadcast by Al Jazeera TV on Thursday showed families including women, children, and elderly people waiting with suitcases at the airport for his or her address to leave.
It was not immediately clear whether any countries aside from Qatar had played a task in organizing the airlift.
Qatar has acted because the central intermediary between the Taliban and therefore the international community in recent years, and various countries, including us, have relocated their embassies from Kabul to Doha within the aftermath of the Taliban takeover.
“We are very appreciative of the Qataris,” one man told the channel, giving his nationality as Canadian.
Away from the airport, there was a noticeably stronger Taliban presence on the streets of Kabul as armed fighters — including Special Forces in military fatigues — stood guard on street corners and manned checkpoints.
Qatar’s special envoy to Afghanistan, Mutlaq al-Qahtani, called it a “historic day” for the airport.
Late on Wednesday, the Taliban moved to snuff out any longer civil unrest, saying protests would wish prior authorization from the justice ministry, adding that no demonstrations were allowed “for the time being”.