The first international commercial flight under Afghanistan’s new Taliban interim government departs Kabul. Source: Reuters
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  • The first commercial flight to take off from Kabul since the withdrawal of US troops at the end of August, has safely touched down in Doha 
  • The State Department says the US is working around the clock with Qatar to facilitate the departure of citizens, permanent residents and at-risk Afghans
  • The United Nations has warned food aid in the country is about to run out and basic services are on the verge of collapsing
  • The International Committee of the Red Cross President has called for the interim authorities to ensure safe conditions for the delivery of aid
  • It follows allegations by the United Nations that its staff on the ground have been harassed and intimidated

The first commercial flight to take off from Afghanistan’s Hamid Karzai International Airport since the withdrawal of US troops at the end of August has safely touched down in Doha. 

On board the Qatar airlines flight were 113 people, including citizens from the US, Canada, Ukraine, Germany and Britain. 

State Department Spokesperson Ned Price said the US was working around the clock with Qatar to facilitate the departure of citizens, permanent residents and at-risk Afghans. 

“We welcome the Taliban’s cooperation in facilitating this flight as part of their commitment to allow those with travel documents to leave if they so choose,” Mr Price said. “Our team in Doha and the Special Representative for Afghanistan Reconciliation, Ambassador Khalilzad, have stressed with Taliban officials that additional steps such as these will be well received by the international community.”

While this is the first commercial flight out of Afghanistan this month, international flights carrying officials, technicians and importantly, humanitarian aid have been operating in recent days. 

The United Nations (UN) has warned food aid in the country is about to run out, and basic services are on the verge of collapsing. 

Earlier this week, the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs launched an emergency appeal for more than $600 million.

Following the takeover by the Taliban, the United Nations (UN) froze US$7 billion of Afghan reserves and the International Monetary Fund shut off its financing for the country.

The UN has reported ATMs have been running out of cash, withdrawal limits have been put in place and prices of essential goods have risen.

The International Committee of the Red Cross President Peter Maurer called for the international community to continue supporting the people of Afghanistan. 

“The international community has an important role to play, certainly by generous funding of humanitarian organization, and neutral and impartial and independent humanitarianism, but also by creating conditions, which will minimize humanitarian aid and which will kickstart and allow Afghans to go back to normal economic and social lives,” Mr Maurer said.

He also called upon the new interim government to ensure conditions to allow for the delivery of impactful and effective humanitarian aid. It follows allegations by the UN that its staff on the ground have been harassed and intimidated. 

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