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The PIA launched its first chartered commercial flight to Afghanistan after the Taliban took power

The airline spokesman said Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) held its first commercial flight to Afghanistan, Kabul, on Monday, when the Taliban took over the country last month.

The Boeing 777 with the flight number PK 6429 departed from Islamabad, Pakistan, as a commercial flight chartered by the World Bank, carrying officials from the bank and journalists, airline spokesman Abdullah H. Khan said.

The aircraft later returned to Islamabad.

This was the first PIA flight to touch down in Kabul after the foreign troop withdrawal and large-scale evacuation of people from Afghanistan ended on August 31.

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Khan told Reuters “It was a special chartered flight,” . “We also accommodated other individuals who wanted to leave Afghanistan since we had space on the plane.”

He added that it was a commercial flight that operated through regular airport infrastructure, which had been restored.

“This operation is very important for the PIA and the whole world,” PIA’s Chief Operating Officer Arshad Malik said in a statement.

“We hope that we will be able to resume a complete operation soon,” he said.

Around 70 people were on the flight to Islamabad, mostly Afghans who were relatives of staffers with international organizations such as the World Bank, according to airport ground staff.

“I am being evacuated. My final destination is Tajikistan,” said a 35-year-old World Bank evacuee, who did not want to give her name. “I will come back here only if the situation allows women to work and move freely.”

The resumption of commercial flights will be a key test for the Taliban, who have repeatedly promised to allow Afghans with the right documents to leave the country freely.

As passengers prepared to board, airport staff went about their duties, although working under the new regime is marred by fear and confusion for women.

“I don’t know if we will be killed or not for working here,” one of two women handling the security scanning machine told AFP.



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