PIA suspends Kabul operations after ‘country rep held at gunpoint’

PIA had resumed flights to and from Kabul in early September

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The Pakistan International Airlines has reportedly suspended operations in Kabul because of alleged ‘Taliban high-handedness’, with PIA’s country representative in Afghanistan reportedly being held at gunpoint.

Journalist affiliated with CNN International stated on Twitter that PIA had suspended its operations after the organization’s country representative in Afghanistan was held at gunpoint for hours on accusations of abetting people from [sic] leaving the country.

She added that PIA’s spokesperson, while talking to media, spoke of how tough it was for PIA to fly into Kabul ‘against all odds’ and that the decision to keep PIA flying into the city was based on ‘purely humanitarian grounds’.

Earlier, journalist Tahir Imran had also reported of PIA suspending its operations in Kabul. He stated that the suspension would continue till further decision on the matter.

In early September, Pakistan International Airlines had become the first international air carrier to conduct commercial flights to and from the Afghan capital of Kabul after the Afghan Taliban took over Afghanistan.

According to media reports on the PIA flight in September, the plane had flown from Islamabad to Kabul with a few passengers. Staff had stated to media that the airline desired to resume normal commercial operations, yet they had cautioned that operations depended upon ‘factors on the ground’.

The withdrawal of US troops from Kabul at the end of August and the chaos that ensued had damaged the airport. The situation further worsened as the Islamic State Khorasan Province carried out a suicide bombing at the airport, killing more than 180 civilians and 13 members of the US military.

Operations on the airport had resumed with the aid of technical assistance from Qatar and other countries.