First scheduled flights from Kabul airport started ‘non-working radar’

Some domestic scheduled flights have resumed from the Afghan capital Kabul airport. On Saturday, aircraft from the Afghan airline Ariana departed to the cities of Herat, Kandahar and Mazar-i-Sharif.

Ariana‘s manager in Kabul told US news agency AP that the planes were taking off while the airport’s radar system is not working yet. Three domestic flights are scheduled for today.

The resumption of flights is due to Qatari and Turkish aviation experts and air traffic controllers who arrived in Afghanistan last week to help air traffic get started. This has been quiet since last Monday, the last flight with US military departed Kabul, bringing the international evacuation operation to an end.

Shortly thereafter, the Taliban took over the military part of the international airport, which put them in control of the entire airport area. After the Taliban intake of Kabul on 15 August, the area around the airport was the scene of chaos for more than two weeks due to the massive influx of Afghans and foreigners who wanted to leave the country. The Taliban refused to authorize the continuation of the evacuation operation after the agreed deadline of 31 August, although not everyone entitled to do so was out of the country at that time.

Taliban consultation on new evacuations

The international community wants to resume evacuations and a number of countries are talking to the Taliban about it. The Netherlands also held discussions with the new Afghan powers at the end of last week. Foreign Minister Kaag Demissionary Minister Kaag spoke Wednesday and Thursday in Qatar, Pakistan and Turkey about the possibility of re-starting evacuation flights from Kabul.

The United Nations calls reopening the airport for international air traffic crucial for humanitarian aid to the people of Afghanistan.