First evacuation flight from Kabul since US pull-out lands in Doha
Published: 08:46 AM, 10 September 2021
Dozens of international passengers including UK citizens and Americans arrived in Doha after flying from Kabul airport on Thursday, the first flight ferrying out foreigners since a US-led evacuation ended.
Doha, a major transit point for Afghan refugees, has said it worked with Turkey to swiftly resume operations at Kabul's airport to allow the flow of people and aid.
AFP correspondents said they saw passengers begin to disembark at Qatar's Hamad International Airport, marking the first successful flight of its type since the chaotic airlift of more than 120,000 people concluded last month.
The Qatar Airways Boeing 777 had "around 113" passengers including Americans, Canadians, Germans and Ukrainians, with all passengers due to be received at a compound for Afghan refugees in Doha, a source with knowledge of the operation told AFP.
Canada has also confirmed that 43 of its citizens were on the flight, while the Netherlands said 13 of its nationals were on board.
Sources had earlier said that as many as 200 people were aboard.
Qatar's Foreign Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al-Thani praised the Taliban for allowing the flight.
"We managed to fly the first plane with passengers... we thank (the Taliban) for their cooperation," Sheikh Mohammed said in televised remarks.
"This is actually what we are expecting from the Taliban, to see these positive statements translated into action," said Sheikh Mohammed.
"I think this is a positive message, that we are supporting."
Qatar has acted as the central intermediary between the Taliban and the international community in recent years.
Numerous countries, including the United States, have relocated their embassies from Kabul to Doha in the aftermath of the Taliban takeover.