KABUL: After a hiatus of three years due to coronavirus outbreak and Taliban rule, regular flights have resumed to China from Kabul with Afghanistan’s leading airlines already carrying out normal operations.
Afghanistan announced the resumption of direct flights between Afghanistan and China earlier this week. The national flagship carrier Ariana Afghan Airlines began the first weekly passenger flight from Kabul to Urumqi, the capital city of Xinjiang province in northwestern China.
This is the first time China has resumed direct flights to Afghanistan since the end of 2019, which was hit by the COVID-19 outbreak at the time. The new initiative is expected to help strengthen economic and political relations between the two countries.
Imamuddin Ahmadi, Ministry of Transport and Civil Aviation spokesman, stated that current daily flights from Afghanistan were mainly to Dubai, Abu Dhabi, and Turkey.
After Kabul fell in August 2021, Countries like UAE, Russia, Iran, Pakistan, Uzbekistan, Kuwait, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and India gradually resumed some direct flights to Afghanistan. Now, China has joined the group.
At a press conference at Kabul airport on the resumption day, Taliban deputy minister for transport and civil aviation, Ghulam Jilani Wafa, praised the initiative. “These flights would directly impact enhancing economic, political, and commercial ties between the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan and China.”
After the previous regime’s demise, the nation’s airports were heavily damaged, and almost all of them were non-functional. After two years since the Taliban took power, there are now four fully operative international airports – Kabul, Kandahar, Herat, and Mazar-i-Sharif. However, no direct or connecting flights between the US and Europe and the hardline Islamist regime have yet been established.