Iran launches commercial flights to Taliban-led Afghanistan

Passengers disembark from a Mahan Air flight at Kabul airport on September 15. AFP Photo

TEHRAN: Iran has resumed commercial flights to Afghanistan, a month after the Taliban invaded Kabul last month and toppled the government.

“Today, Mahan Air flew passengers between Mashhad and Kabul airport”, Fars News Agency reported, referring to Iran’s second largest city, in the northeast, and the Afghan capital.

“Right now this airliner is returning to Mashhad with passengers.”

It was the first such flight between the two countries since the Taliban returned to power on August 15.

The Iranian civil aviation agency had announced the interruption of flights to Kabul on August 16 for security reasons.

Previously, Mahan Air had operated two flights per week between Mashhad and Kabul.

Mahan Air, Iran’s second-largest airline after state-owned Iran Air, has been on the blacklist of entities targeted by US sanctions against Iran since 2011.

According to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, the Islamic Republic is home to more than 3.46 million Afghans, mostly refugees or illegal immigrants, representing more than four percent of Iran’s population.

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