MIAMI – Want to fly to Afghanistan? The Taliban might welcome your flight, appealing to international airlines to reinstate flights to Kabul Airport (KBL).

Reuters reports today that the regime promises a lack of interference and says the airport is fully open and that they have resolved all problems at the facility. Afghanistan’s Foreign Affairs Ministry issued the plea as it attempts to reopen the country and gain international acceptance.

According to the news outlet, occasional aid flights have operated out of KBL since the end of the evacuation flights last month. The country received international help from Qatar and Turkey in repairing the damaged airfield and terminal.

Some airlines, including Pakistan International Airlines, have continued to operate, but the number of flights is low and the airfare many times the usual price.

According to Foreign ministry spokesman Abdul Qahar Balkhi, many Afghan nationals are stranded abroad, and those in-country are not able to fly internationally to study or work.

“As the problems at Kabul International Airport have been resolved and the airport is fully operational for domestic and international flights, the IEA assures all airlines of its full cooperation,” Balkhi said.

IEA is the abbreviation for Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan, the Taliban’s term for its new government.

Prior to the recent troubles, several airlines served KBL. Those airlines include: Air Arabia (G9), Air India (AI), Ariana Afghan Airlines (FG), Emirates Airlines (EK), Flydubai (FZ), Iran Air (IR), Kam Air (RQ), Kuwait Airways, Mahan Air (W5), Pakistan International Airlines (PK), SpiceJet (SG), and Turkish Airlines (TK).

Overhead photo of Kabul Airport (KBL). Photo: Google Earth

The Airport


Soviet engineers built the Kabul airport in 1960. That country used the facility extensively during its 10-year occupation of Afghanistan. After the September 11 attacks, the US invaded the country and bombed the airport. When the International Security Assistance Force took control of the facility, a redevelopment began. In 2005 the US installed a new radar system.

The FAA upgraded that system in 2010 to cover all of Afghanistan’s airspace.

The Japan International Cooperation agency built a US$35m terminal for international flights in 2008. That terminal opened to international flights in June 2009. The existing terminal was used for domestic flights until the recent Taliban takeover of the country.

Airfield elevation is 5,877 feet (1,790 M) MSL. There is one runway, 11/29, that is 11,520 (3,511 M) feet long.


Featured image: Kabul Hamid Karzai International Airport – Photo: Kabul Airport via Facebook