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First international commercial flight leaves Kabul

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“We managed to fly the first plane with passengers just an hour ago,” Qatari Foreign Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al-Thani said in Islamabad, thanking Afghanistan’s new Taliban leaders for helping reopen the airport.

About 113 passengers were on board, including US, Canadian, Ukrainian, German, and British citizens, a source with knowledge of the matter said.

They were transported to the airport in a Qatari convoy after Qatar worked with parties on the ground to secure safe passage, the source said.

Although international flights have gone in and out with officials, technicians and aid in recent days, this was the first such civilian flight since the evacuation which followed the Taliban’s seizure of the capital on August 15 as foreign military forces pulled out.

It marked an important step in the Islamist militant group’s efforts to bring some kind of normality back to the country, which is facing economic collapse and a humanitarian crisis.

The Qatar Airways plane had arrived in Kabul earlier on Thursday carrying aid, it said Al Jazeera television reported. – AL JAZEEra

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