State-owned Afghanistan airline begins flights from Kabul to Islamabad

ISLAMABAD: Ariana Afghan Airlines is beginning regular twice-weekly services from Kabul to Islamabad, the state-owned operator said on Thursday, joining Kam Air which has begun flying five times a week between the two cities.

Ariana, which began regular services to Dubai this week, will operate flights between Kabul and Islamabad on Thursdays and Mondays, charging $400 from Kabul and $100 from Islamabad.

Earlier this week, privately-owned Kam Air started services five times a week to Islamabad as international air traffic gradually reopens following the Taliban’s seizure of power in Kabul in August.

The announcement from Ariana came as the Foreign Minister Amir Khan Muttaqi was visiting Islamabad for talks that are expected to cover issues including aviation links between Afghanistan and Pakistan.

Some charter services have been flying to Kabul since the Taliban takeover but normally scheduled commercial flights had been suspended.

With an economy in deep crisis and continuing concerns about Afghanistan’s future under the Taliban, there has been huge demand from people wishing to leave Afghanistan, made worse by repeated problems at land border crossings into Pakistan.

Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) suspended its charter service to Kabul from Islamabad last month, citing interference from Taliban authorities, who had warned the airline it should cut its ticket prices.

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