“Some 113” people were able to evacuate from Kabul in Afghanistan by plane on Thursday. A first since the withdrawal of American troops from the country, now in the hands of the Taliban. The Boeing 777 landed at Hamad International Airport in Doha in Qatar with civilians on board, including US, Canadian, German and Ukrainian nationals, a source close to the operation said.
They will be hosted in a center for Afghan refugees in Doha, according to the same source. Earlier, corroborating sources had reported 200 people on board the plane.
Qatar, a key player in the Afghan crisis
It is the first flight of this type since the gigantic airlift organized by the Americans which allowed the evacuation of more than 120,000 people since the sudden return to power of the Taliban in mid-August.
During a visit to Pakistan, Qatar’s Foreign Minister Mohammed ben Abderrahmane Al-Thani praised the Taliban for authorizing the flight. “We were able to (ensure) the first flight with passengers (…) we thank the Taliban for their cooperation,” he said in televised remarks. “This is actually what we expected from the Taliban, to see these positive statements turned into action,” he continued. “I think that’s a positive message”.
Qatar has become a key player in the Afghan crisis. It hosted the negotiations concluded in 2020 between the United States of Donald Trump and the Taliban, then between the latter and the Afghan opposition of the now ousted president, Ashraf Ghani. Many countries, including the United States, have relocated their embassies from Kabul to Doha since the Taliban took over power.