Qatar Airways will operate at least five civilian flights in a week to ferry humanitarian aid into Afghanistan and airlift foreign nationals out of the capital, Kabul, official and other sources said Thursday.
According to Flightradar24, Qatar Airways Flight QR7277, operated by a Boeing 777-300ER, departed Kabul at around 13:00 UTC Thursday carrying dozens of American evacuees and had left Afghan airspace.
News reports said the Taliban “allowed 200 Americans and other civilians” to leave the airport Thursday afternoon, on a Doha-bound flight. The Qatar Airways jet had arrived with tons of humanitarian aid for the stricken country.
A spokesman for Qatar Airways said he had no comment and would require more time to respond.
The Qatari Ministry of Foreign Affairs said Monday a third Qatari airplane carrying humanitarian aid provided by Qatar Charity, in coordination with Qatar Fund for Development (QFFD), had arrived at Kabul International Airport, carrying 25 tons of medical and food aid.
“The plane arrived in the airport in the presence of HE Ambassador of the State of Qatar to Afghanistan, Saeed bin Mubarak Al Khayareen,” a ministry statement said. “The volume of Qatari humanitarian aid to Afghanistan has reached so far 68 tons of medical and food products, as part of its continuous support for the Afghan people.”
Another ministry statement said Saturday that Qatar had also organized the first of two domestic civil flights from Kabul to Kandahar Airport and Mazar-i-Sharif Airport after the recent events.
The Qatari ambassador said a Qatari technical team managed to reopen Kabul Airport to receive humanitarian aid and flights and would soon ready the airport for international civil flights.
Amateur footage on social media last week showed a Qatar Air Force C17 Routemaster, operated by Qatar’s Emiri Flight, landing in Afghanistan, apparently also at Kabul Airport.
Fellow Gulf Cooperation Council member, the UAE, has also played an important role in the evacuation of foreign nationals stranded in Afghanistan following the U.S. withdrawal at the end of last month. It agreed to a request by the U.S. to host 5,000 Afghan nationals evacuated from Afghanistan on their way to third countries.
In its statement last month, the UAE did not specify whether civilian or military aircraft had participated in the airlift, saying only that dozens of flights had taken place.
“The humanitarian gesture follows the UAE’s recent facilitation of dozens of flights carrying hundreds of foreign citizens from Afghanistan, including diplomats and support staff from a range of nationalities and non-governmental organizations to UAE airports,” said official UAE news agency WAM. “The UAE has also facilitated the evacuation of approximately 8,500 foreign nationals, utilizing its aircraft and airports from Afghanistan.”