Thousands stranded in Afghanistan as commercial flights are cancelled

Stranded Afghan nationals arrive to return back to Afghanistan at the Pakistan-Afghanistan border crossing point in Chaman on August 16, 2021 as the Taliban were in control of Afghanistan after President Ashraf Ghani fled the country and conceded the insurgents had won the 20-year war. (Photo by - / AFP)

Thousands of people in Afghanistan are stranded as commercial flights from Kabul’s airport have been cancelled.

Taliban fighters had yesterday, invaded the outskirts of Kabul, demanding transfer of power.

According to a statement by Afghanistan’s civil aviation authority today, all flights have been temporarily cancelled.

The cancellation of the flights took place in the wake of Kabul’s fall to the Taliban and the mass migration of Afghans amid fear.

Many have crowded onto the tarmac, hoping to catch a flight out of the country.

“All the flights from Kabul airport have been temporarily cancelled and the passengers should not come to the airport until informed,’’ the statement reads.

The civil aviation authority expressed hope for early restoration of normalcy, but adding that the massive rush of passengers to the airport in the chaotic situation could lead to looting and disorderly conduct.

It said the civil aviation authority is trying to resume flight operations as soon as possible.

The Taliban, in a statement, told Kabul residents their lives and property are safe and that they can carry on their daily activities.

Earlier, the United States said it was boosting its troop numbers in Afghanistan to 6,000 after the Taliban reached Kabul.

The State Department and Department of Defence said they were aiming to secure Kabul’s airport for the safe departure of US and allied personnel.

The departments also said they wanted to speed up the evacuation of thousands of Afghan aid workers entitled to US special immigrant visas.

“Over the next 48 hours, we will have expanded our security presence to nearly 6,000 troops, with a mission focused solely on facilitating these efforts and will be taking over air traffic control,” the departments had said.

The move sees a further 1,000 US troops going to Afghanistan, just a day after President Joe Biden had ordered a prior reinforcement of 1,000 soldiers while the deployment of 3,000 was announced last week.

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