Islamabad: Pakistan Worldwide Airways (PIA) suspended flights to the Afghan capital, Kabul, on Thursday after what it referred to as “heavy-handed” interference by Taliban authorities, together with arbitrary rule modifications and intimidation of employees.
The suspension got here because the Taliban authorities ordered the airline, the one worldwide firm working usually out of Kabul, to chop ticket costs to ranges seen earlier than the autumn of the Western-backed Afghan authorities in August.
“We’re suspending our flight operations to Kabul from at this time due to the heavy-handedness of the authorities,” a spokesman stated.
Earlier, the Taliban warned PIA and Afghan service Kam Air that their Afghan operations risked being blocked until they agreed to chop ticket costs, which have reached ranges more and more out of attain for many Afghans.
With most worldwide airways now not flying to Afghanistan, tickets for flights to the Pakistani capital, Islamabad, have been promoting for as a lot as $2,500 on PIA, in accordance with journey brokers in Kabul, in contrast with $120-$150 earlier than.
The Afghan transport ministry stated in a press release costs on the route ought to “be adjusted to correspond with the circumstances of a ticket earlier than the victory of the Islamic Emirate” or the flights can be stopped.
It urged passengers and others to report any violations.
Flights between Afghanistan and Pakistan have been severely restricted since Kabul airport was reopened final month within the wake of the chaotic evacuation of greater than 100,000 Westerners and susceptible Afghans following the Taliban victory.
PIA stated that ever for the reason that new Taliban authorities was fashioned, its employees in Kabul had confronted last-minute modifications in laws and flight permissions and “extremely intimidating behaviour” from Taliban commanders.
It stated its nation consultant had been held at gunpoint for hours at one level and was solely freed after the Pakistan embassy in Kabul intervened.
With a mounting financial disaster including to worries about Afghanistan`s future beneath the Taliban, there was heavy demand for flights out and the primary passport workplace in Kabul has been besieged by folks attempting to get journey paperwork because it reopened this month.
Demand for flights has been additional pushed by repeated difficulties at land border crossings into Pakistan.