A second major plane is due to leave Afghanistan on Friday after taking foreign and Afghan tourists to Qatar, signaling that the country’s main airport is about to resume trade, as the United Nations has warned of “reliable” Taliban killings.
More than 100 people, including some Americans, left Kabul airport on Thursday for their first flight from outside Afghanistan since the US flight ended on August 30.
The White House said the Taliban were “businessmen and experts” in allowing the plane to take off, but a United Nations envoy to Afghanistan warned that the group was fighting an oncoming enemy.
“We are concerned that while there are many words for the best … there have always been valid reasons for the brutal killings,” said Deborah Lyons in New York.
He also said Afghan security forces and former government officials were at risk.
Unconfirmed reports from headquarters said the Taliban could hold the inauguration on Saturday – the 20th anniversary of the September 11 strike that ended their first term in office.
As news of the resumption of travel became widespread, some people gathered at the gates of the airport, and asked Taliban guards to enter.
“If I can’t go just kill me!” One mother, a group of women and children, each said with a backpack.
Many Afghan people in the capital are afraid to repeat the brutal and oppressive rule of Islamist groups from 1996-2001.
The Taliban have already begun separating male and female students from medical professionals, saying women will be banned from playing sports, and exposing a male-dominated government based on a loyalist group.
– Community mobilization –
More than 100 people were on a Qatar Airways flight that arrived in Doha on Thursday evening, just 10 days after a major flight, carrying more than 120,000 people, approached the US airport.
In the days following the Taliban eruption, the airport became a sad sign among Afghans fearing the return of the militants – with thousands of people flocking around its gates every day, with some clinging to jets as they took off.
More than 100 people have been killed, including 13 U.S. soldiers, by suicide on August 26 near an airport reported by a chapter of the Islamic State group.
Qatar said it had worked with Turkey to resume operations at Kabul airport to allow people to evacuate.
The Taliban have repeatedly said they will not retaliate against those who worked with the previous government – and all Afghans will be given the opportunity to leave the country when the flights start.
The militants have vowed to rule indefinitely, 20 years after being ousted by US-led insurgency.
However, they have shown signs that they will not tolerate opponents.
Earlier this week, Taliban militants dispersed several demonstrations, sometimes by air, in Afghan cities, including Kabul, Faizabad in the northeast and Herat in the west, where two people were killed.
He also moved to end other civil strife, saying the protests would need to be approved by the Ministry of Justice and no protests were allowed “for now”.
bur-nkandwe / ecl / ssy