Over 200 passengers, including US citizens, were set to leave Kabul airport on Thursday, on the first flight carrying foreigners out of the capital since a US-led evacuation ended on August 30.
The flight to Doha was set to depart as the Taliban cemented their power over Afghanistan, less than a month after they marched into Kabul and ousted former president Ashraf Ghani.
On Thursday afternoon, a Qatar Airways flight was being prepared to take out some 200 passengers from Kabul’s airport — the first since a mammoth, chaotic airlift of over 120,000 people ended with the US pullout.
It was not immediately clear who organised the flight, but footage broadcast by Al Jazeera TV showed families including women, children and elderly people waiting with suitcases at the airport.
“We are very appreciative of the Qataris,” one passenger told the channel, giving his nationality as Canadian.
Away from the airport, there was a noticeably stronger Taliban presence on the streets of Kabul as armed fighters — including special forces in military fatigues — stood guard on street corners and manned checkpoints, according to AFP journalists.