At least 200 non-Afghans, including Americans, are expected to be evacuated from Kabul in the first airlift since the US withdrew its forces after the Taliban's took over airport operations, according to AFP agency.
As per reports, the foreign nationals will leave Kabul on charter flights on Thursday. A Qatar Airways flight landed in Kabul on Thursday morning, which would carry the American civilians and other foreign nationals, becoming the first international flight to take off from the Kabul airport since the Taliban takeover of the capital in August.
Speaking to the media at the Kabul airport, Qatari officials confirmed that the Qatar Airways flight will be taking foreigners departing Afghanistan. "The Kabul airport is fully operational now. And today Qatar landed its first international flight from Doha to Kabul. And now the same charter fight will be leaving with the foreigners," said a Qatari official.
Zabiullah Mujahid, the Taliban spokesperson who accompanied the Qatari officials, said that they are thankful to the Qatar officials for making the Kabul airport operational and bringing in humanitarian supplies.
"The Kabul airport will be fully operational. Our Qatari brothers have confirmed that all technical issues have been resolved. We hope to see more international flights coming here in the coming days," he said.
Asked about the foreign nationals departing Afghanistan, the Qatari officials termed it as a "free passage", and not an evacuation. "I would not term it as evacuation, I would stay it is a safe passage. There is a significant number of Americans and Westerners on the flight. All have been given boarding passes," he said.
The Qatari officials also revealed that Qatar Airways will be sending in another flight with humanitarian aid on Friday, adding that more people will be taken out through what he referred to as the safe passage to foreigners to leave Afghanistan.
It was also revealed that in the coming days, the two main routes of flights will be made operational and planes landing at the Kabul airport with humanitarian aid would be from Qatar and Pakistan.
(With IANS inputs)