Commercial Flight Takes Off From Afghanistan Under Taliban

Commercial Flight Takes Off From Afghanistan Under Taliban

( – For the first time since the Taliban seized power, a commercial airliner has taken off from Kabul airport. Afghans desperate to leave the country now have the prospect of an escape route — but many have doubts.

On September 13, a Pakistan International Airlines flight from Islamabad landed at Kabul with ten people — including only a handful of passengers — on board. It then took on around 70 passengers for the return flight, most of them Afghans who worked for or had family ties to international organizations. One 35-year-old woman said she was a World Bank employee and planned to resettle in Tajikistan. Many Afghans, including a majority of Kabulis, are ethnic Tajiks.

While the Taliban seem to be letting aid agency staff leave, the situation remains concerning for those who worked for the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF). Thousands of former interpreters and other local workers were left behind in President Biden’s rushed, chaotic evacuation, and few trust the Taliban’s promises not to take revenge on them.

Even airport staff are terrified. A woman working at the security checkpoint at Kabul told a journalist, “I don’t know if we will be killed or not for working here.” Thousands of brave Afghans who worked with the US and NATO are caught in that same trap. Time will tell if these flights will be a regular occurrence or a rare sighting.

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