Pakistan Airlines (PIA) has reported that flights between Pakistan and the Afghan capital, Kabul, have been suspended due to the terrifying Taliban intervention.
Just last Tuesday, dozens of Afghan translators who worked for the Netherlands were evacuated to Pakistan on a Pakistan International Airlines flight. The Pakistanis are also counting on the Pakistanis’ cooperation for the new evacuation flights. PIA’s decision appears to be throwing a shit into the works. Therefore, the State Department describes this measure as a major setback.
“We are suspending our flights to Kabul from today due to the aggressive approach of the authorities,” a PIA spokesman told Reuters. The Taliban are demanding that the Pakistan International Airlines return air fares to levels before they were taken over by extremists. Those prices have increased twenty-fold since August. New rulers threaten a no-fly zone if PIA does not adjust prices.
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Furthermore, the Taliban will change flight schedules at will and grant or deny permission for planes to take off or land at the last minute. PIA employees in the Afghan capital are said to be regularly intimidated by Taliban leaders. Pakistan Airlines is the only airline to operate flights to Kabul.
“We remain in close contact with the Pakistan International Airlines and the Pakistani authorities to make flights from Kabul to Islamabad possible for people whose final destination is the Netherlands,” Foreign Affairs says in response.
In The Hague, it was decided just this week that 2,100 Afghans may come to the Netherlands. It concerns people who have worked with the Netherlands or the Dutch in the past and their immediate families. Their only option to leave the country by plane is the route via Pakistan. They cannot use the evacuation route through Qatar, as that country keeps the border closed to Afghans who have no Dutch relatives.
The State Department announced this afternoon that a group of 29 Afghans recently traveled overland from Afghanistan to Pakistan. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs advises against this path because of its great risks. The 29 left Pakistan for Holland today.
Earlier today, it became clear once again just how dangerous Afghan translators are in their country under the Taliban regime. One of the translators on the Dutch evacuation list was shot dead by Taliban fighters yesterday, according to his family.
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