PIA suspended flights to Afghanistan over Taliban complaints

PIA suspended flights to Afghanistan over Taliban complaints

The airline said conditions had worsened since the Taliban sacked a new Afghan government last month and that PIA and its staff position in Kabul were handled very heavy-handedly by the new Taliban commanders. PIA said commanders have changed regulations and flight permits at the last moment or decided at a whim rather than meeting international regulations. The statement also claimed that the PIA's country representative was held at gun point for hours as he left the Pakistan embassy compound with the Taliban's suspicion of aiding and abetting people seeking to flee Afghanistan.

PIA also accused the Afghanistan Air Ministry of slicing half the number of passengers from one flight this week, which was already in the process of checking in. This resulted in 176 people, who fled to their lives, being sent home by the airline officials, causing nearly half a million-dollar loss to the airline due to higher insurance costs, the airline said.

On Thursday, PIA spokesman Abdullah Khan told CNN that the decision to resume flights into Kabul was taken on purely friendly grounds and on the strong insistence of humanitarian organizations. Khan says the insurance premium on these flights is so high that it is simply impossible to operate scheduled flights to Kabul as it is still considered a war zone by aircraft insurance companies. Khan also said that it is very frustrating that the regulations are always changing for each flight and the authorities always confuse charter permissions with schedule permissions. Khan said PIA would reevaluate its decision to suspend flights if the situation on ground improves and becomes more conducive for international operations.