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Sunday, September 19, 2021

Flights take off from Kabul airport in first since US pullout

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Two planes have taken off from Kabul’s Hamid Karzai’s airport on Saturday, Euronews correspondent Anelise Borges reports, signalling how much the Taliban consider the facility as a priority.

The airport has become a symbol of what the Taliban can do and whether or not they can repair and operate infrastructure in Afghanistan.

The resumption comes after a team of Qatari and Turkish technicians flew to Kabul on Wednesday to help restart operations at the facility, which the UN says is crucial to providing the country with humanitarian assistance.

Qatar said earlier that flights should resume on Sunday.

The resumptions of flights will be crucial for the Taliban to get recognition, but also the money they need to govern the country.

Foreign aid covered 90% of all salaries of public sector workers in Afghanistan and 30% of the country’s budget before the withdrawal of the United States and its NATO allies.

The Taliban cannot access Afghanistan’s central banks, with some $9 billion currently being held by the New York federal reserve.

The issue will likely be high on the agenda on Sunday, when US Secretary of State Antony Blinken visits Doha in Qatar where he is expected to continue talks with the Taliban.

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