Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) halted its operation due to a lack of “permission” by the Taliban, despite the readiness of three planes and staff, after the European Union and Asian Development Bank had sought help from PIA to evacuate their employees from Afghanistan.
PIA has operated seven special flights and repatriated as many as 1,460 people, most of them foreigners, stranded in Afghanistan since the Taliban gained control of Kabul in the middle of August.
Owing to the restriction on Afghan nationals from leaving the country by the Taliban, PIA did not operate special flights, as the airline could not take responsibility of bringing the Afghan travellers to the airport.
The authorities concerned did not reply when asked to ensure the presence of intending passengers at the airport, therefore, PIA did not operate more special flights to Kabul and secondly the Kabul airport’s runway was not clear, but dirty, spokesperson added.
Since the Taliban have announced amnesty for Afghans, they do not want citizens to leave the country amid growing demand for early evacuation of foreigners.
The EU and ADB had sought help from PIA to evacuate their people from Afghanistan. he PIA CEO and Aviation Minister Ghulam Sarwar Khan were requested to make available a special aircraft for evacuation of the EU delegates and their dependents from Kabul on humanitarian grounds.
While PIA planned to run three special flights to Kabul on Monday following these demands, the plans were shelved for want of “permission”.