pakistan
Sunday Aug 15 2021
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Two PIA aircraft carrying 499 passengers arrive in Islamabad from Kabul

— AFP/File
— AFP/File

Two PIA aircraft that had been stuck at Kabul airport with a total of 499 passengers on board, were finally permitted to fly and arrived in Islamabad, Geo News reported on Sunday evening.

One is a Boeing 777 which has 329 passengers, while the other is an Airbus 320 with 170 passengers. 

According to PIA, three flights will be operated between Islamabad and Kabul tomorrow as well, as there is a large volume of Pakistanis and other nationals looking to leave Kabul.

Earlier, the aircraft were not being allowed the use of the runway to take off as the US military evacuated American diplomats.

Kabul airport sources told Geo News that two helicopters belonging to the US military were blocking the runway and over the past few hours, four C-130 cargo planes, also belonging to the US military, landed for evacuations of American diplomats.

Several US embassy cars were seen entering the airport.

The sources said that the Kabul airport's air traffic control "has no control over what is happening".

"All air traffic is being controlled by the US army soldiers," they added.

According to the sources, one Emirates airline aircraft and another belonging to Air India, that had wished to land. circled the airport for an hour, before leaving without landing.

Among the passengers are diplomats from Pakistan and their families, as well as other countries.

The sources said that there were many people without air tickets who wished to get on board the PIA flights. Eight such people were allowed passage, whereas the others were turned away.

Earlier in the day, Ambassador of Afghanistan to Pakistan Mansoor Ahmed Khan had tweeted that the embassy is "engaged with PIA to accomodate Pakistanis on regular and additional flights".

"We are also assisting those who have issue of affordability. Contact the Embassy," he said.