Friday Aug 20, 2021
Two more Pakistan International Airlines flights carrying 390 passengers have arrived in Islamabad from Kabul, as part of Pakistan's efforts to evacuate people wishing to leave Afghanistan after a takeover by the Taliban.
The passengers belonged to 10 different countries, including diplomats from Germany and the Philippines, besides citizens from Pakistan and Afghanistan, the spokesperson for PIA said.
The first flight to arrive back was an Airbus jet, whereas the second one was a Boeing 777.
PIA CEO Air Marshal Arshad Malik himself accompanied the first flight out to Kabul today to boost the morale of the staff.
When the PIA flight entered Afghan airspace, it was given a warm welcome by the director general of the country's aviation authority, the PIA spokesperson said.
The PIA chief held meetings with the staff of the Afghan civil aviation authority and personnel from the NATO forces.
He also accompanied Pakistan's Ambassador to Afghanistan Mansoor Ahmad Khan in reviewing PIA's managerial and operational matters at the airport.
It is expected that Minister for Aviation Ghulam Sarwar will permit more flights to Kabul. Meanwhile, the matter of extending flight operations to other cities is under deliberation.
According to the PIA spokesperson, so far in five such special flights, around 1,000 passengers have been evacuated from Kabul and brought to Islamabad.
The national flag carrier, with the support of the Pakistan embassy and local authorities, brought back another 350 passengers from Kabul to Islamabad earlier on Friday.
According to the state media APP, around 350 passengers, including around 250 staff members of the World Bank, were brought back to Islamabad aboard two Boeing 777 flights.
Other passengers included foreigners and local Afghans attached with several international organisations, Afghan Wireless communication, Vimco Imtiaz construction company, Sky aero logistics, and those working with the embassy of the Philippines.
Mansoor Ahmad Khan said the embassy had made special arrangements for the safe passage of the people from Afghanistan. He said the PIA carried some passengers on Thursday and will be operating two flights on Friday and more in the incoming days.
He added that transportation arrangements have been made to safely transport the passengers from the embassy compound to the airport on board buses and the embassy would also facilitate them in the boarding on the aircraft.
The ambassador said the Pakistan embassy would "continue to facilitate all those who wish to travel to Pakistan or use the route for transit," adding that the embassy staff was working round the clock to facilitate people and would extend every help, particularly to the staff of the international agencies working in Afghanistan.
Pakistan embassy earlier facilitated those desirous of leaving Afghanistan through the Torkham border.
A PIA Boeing 777 aircraft remained stuck at the Kabul airport for hours on Thursday, before getting permission to take off. It was the first passenger flight to arrive and leave from Kabul after the ouster of the Ashraf Ghani government.
The staff of the different international and local Afghan companies expressed gratitude to the government of Pakistan and the embassy staff for facilitating them and helping them leave the country safely.