Sixth Qatari passenger flight departs from Kabul

The flight with more than 300 people on board is the biggest since US withdrawal

A sixth Qatari flight took off on Wednesday from Kabul airport en route to Doha with more than 300 passengers on board.

The flight is the biggest since the US withdrawal from Afghanistan in August, Qatar’s Assistant Foreign Minister Lolwah Al Khater said on Twitter.

The passengers included Afghan journalists and Afghanistan’s cricket team, as well as the citizens of several countries, including the UK, Germany, Canada and Japan.

The flight came two days after the arrival of more than 100 music students and teachers in Doha.

The musicians, who left amid a Taliban crackdown on music, are members of Afghanistan’s top musical institute.

“The group, about half of them women and girls, plan to fly to Portugal with the support of the government there,” Ahmad Sarmast, the institute’s principal told AFP.

With help from the Qatari embassy in Kabul, the musicians had been ferried in small groups to the city's airport, Mr Sarmast said.

In a first hurdle, Taliban militants guarding Kabul airport questioned their visas. But Qatari embassy officials managed to resolve the problem, he said.

The US army has organised an airlift of more than 120,000 people wishing to flee the Taliban regime before its complete pull-out.

The Taliban, who banned music during their brutal and oppressive rule from 1996 to 2001, swept back into power on August 15.

They have promised a more moderate brand of rule this time – though they have made clear that they will run Afghanistan within the restrictive limits of their interpretation the Sharia.

The US-led troops invaded Afghanistan in 2001 to dislodge Taliban after the 9/11 terrorist attacks claimed by Al Qaeda.

Updated: October 6th 2021, 4:54 PM