Qatar’s ambassador to Afghanistan stated a technical team was able to reopen Kabul airport for assistance and that civilian flights from the airport would soon be operational, according to al-Jazeera on Saturday. The team flew to the capital of Afghanistan on Wednesday, so their plane was the first to land since the evacuations stopped earlier this week.
According to Al-Jazeera, the ambassador said the runway at the airport had been repaired in cooperation with authorities in Afghanistan. Al-Jazeera also reported that two domestic flights from Kabul to the cities of Mazar-i-Sharif and Kandahar were operated. Qatar’s Foreign Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al-Thani said on Thursday that his government was talking to the Taliban and working with Turkey to reopen potential technical support for airport operations.
Following the recent takeover of Afghanistan by the Taliban, Kabul airport witnessed chaotic evacuations of several countries in a devastating attack on August 26 that killed 13 U.S. military personnel and more than 160 Afghans.
Last week, U.S. forces carried out a drone strike that destroyed a vehicle carrying Islamic State bombers in Afghanistan. The vehicle tried to attack Kabul airport. On Monday, five rockets were fired from the airport, which was intercepted by a missile defense system, a U.S. official said.
The airport was out of operation after the United States withdrew all its troops from Afghanistan on August 31 (Tuesday). One person told AFP on condition of anonymity on Thursday that the aim of the airport was to reopen flights both for humanitarian aid and to provide freedom of movement, including the recovery of evacuation efforts.
The Taliban had earlier promised a safe passage for those ready to leave Afghanistan.
Meanwhile, the Taliban have again delayed the formation of a new government in Afghanistan, with group spokesman Zabiullah Mujahid saying on Saturday that the announcement of the new cabinet will be made next week.