Afghanistan’s national flag carrier is preparing to resume international flights next week, its new president said Wednesday, praising Qatari and Turkish technical experts for their assistance in getting Kabul airport operational in the shortest possible time.
Domestic flights to Herat, Kandahar and Mazar-e-Sharif resumed Sept. 4, and negotiations are now underway to restart international flights between Kabul and New Delhi, Qari Rahmatullah Gulzad, who assumed charge following the Taliban’s recent takeover of the country, told Anadolu Agency.
Before leaving the war-torn country on Aug. 31 after 20 years of operations, US forces severely damaged terminals at Hamid Karzai International Airport and Ariana Afghan Airlines' planes, workshop, hangar and offices.
“The Qatari and Turkish technical teams enabled us to resume flight operations,” Gulzad said, thanking the countries for their prompt support.
The Qatari and Turkish teams are still working on Kabul airport, and he believes they will stay for another month to ensure that it meets international standards.
Negotiations with the Indian government are underway and international flights to New Delhi will be resumed in two or three days, he said, adding the next plan is to resume flights to Turkey, followed by the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia.
A significant number of Afghans are in India and Turkey for medical treatment, but they are stranded there due to the country's situation, he said.
"Some of them have died, and some of them are facing financial and visa expiry difficulties because of their prolonged stay."
While the UAE is imposing fines on the refugees on a daily basis for their extended stay, he said, "flights to these countries will be operational very soon."
They are in negotiations with India to resume flights on a reciprocal basis, he added.