Top Ariana airline official hails Qatari and Turkish technical experts for their assistance in getting Kabul airport operational in the shortest possible time.

Pilots of Ariana Afghan Airlines walk on tarmac after landing at Hamid Karzai International Airport in Kabul on September 5, 2021.
Pilots of Ariana Afghan Airlines walk on tarmac after landing at Hamid Karzai International Airport in Kabul on September 5, 2021. (AP)

Afghanistan's national flag carrier is preparing to resume international flights next week, its new president has said, praising Qatari and Turkish technical experts for their assistance in getting Kabul airport operational in the shortest possible time.

Domestic flights to Herat, Kandahar and Mazar-e-Sharif resumed on September 4  and negotiations are now under way to restart international flights between Kabul and New Delhi, Qari Rahmatullah Gulzad, who assumed charge of Ariana Afghan Airlines following the Taliban's recent takeover of the country, told Anadolu Agency.

Before leaving the war-torn country on August 31 after 20 years of operations, US forces blew up their military equipment at the aiport. 

The airport was also the site of mass evacuations, rocket attacks and a suicide bombing.

The terminals at Hamid Karzai International Airport and Ariana Afghan Airlines' planes, workshop, hangar and offices have all sustained damage.

"The Qatari and Turkish technical teams enabled us to resume flight operations," Gulzad said, thanking the countries for their prompt support.

The Qatari and Turkish teams are still working on Kabul airport, he said, adding they will stay for another month to ensure that it meets international standards. 

READ MORE: UN seeks safe passage for aid workers in Afghanistan

Negotiations with India going on 

Negotiations with the Indian government are under way and international flights to New Delhi will be resumed in two or three days, he said, adding the next plan is to resume flights to Turkey, followed by the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia.

A significant number of Afghans are in India and Turkey for medical treatment but they are stranded there due to the country's situation, he said.

"Some of them have died, and some of them are facing financial and visa expiry difficulties because of their prolonged stay."

While the UAE is imposing fines on the refugees on a daily basis for their extended stay, he said, "flights to these countries will be operational very soon."

READ MORE: US working on charter flights for those who want to leave Afghanistan

Source: AA