- Military and special commercial planes have been using Islamabad airport as a stopover before leaving for their respective countries
Islamabad: Around 450 planes, carrying over 26,000 US and North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO) forces’ personnel, have landed in and taken off from Islamabad’s international airport up till August 31 as part of a special flight operation, which began on August 16 following the fall of Kabul to the Taliban a day before on August 15, it was learnt on Wednesday.
Sources reported that military and special commercial planes belonging to the NATO and different countries’ airlines took off from the Kabul airport and then landed at Islamabad airport before heading to their destinations in other countries as part of the US and NATO forces’ withdrawal from Afghanistan after 20-year-long war against the very group that is presently in power in the country, namely the Taliban. Islamabad International Airport caught the attention of the US and other countries, part of NATO forces, especially after the Taliban entered the Afghan capital, and they used it as a place for making a stopover before leaving for their respective countries.
The airlines which have helped evacuate foreign troops as well as people of other nationalities from Afghanistan are Turkish Air Force, Danish Air Force, Italian Air Force, Ukraine’s military planes, those belonging to the United Nations, Belgium and other countries part of the alliance. Seven planes belonging to Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) also participated in the operation and helped evacuated 1,460 Afghan nationals as well as Pakistanis from Kabul.
On the other hand, a spokesman for the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) has said that the special flight operation has also helped the authority to increase its revenues. He further said that CAA had made special arrangements at the Islamabad airport to facilitate the operation. “Rapid tests were conducted of those arriving in Islamabad from Kabul,” he concluded.