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PIA suspends flights to Kabul over Taliban’s ‘heavy handedness’

ISLAMABAD – Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) on Thursday suspended flights to the Afghan capital, Kabul, with immediate effect due to “heavy handedness” of the Taliban authorities.

A spokesperson of the national carrier announced the decision, saying that the flight operation will remain suspended until the further notice.

The development came as the Taliban-led government asked PIA to cut ticket prices to levels seen before the toppling of Ashraf Ghani’s government in mid-August.

“We are suspending our flight operations to Kabul from today because of the heavy handedness of the authorities,” the spokesperson was quoted as saying in a media report.

PIA is the only international company operating regularly out of Kabul as all other flights suspended their operations after the Taliban took control of Afghanistan.

Earlier, the Afghanistan’s Civil Aviation Authority issued a warning to PIA and Afghan carrier Kam Air to cut the prices to the previous level to avoid suspension of their operations.

The Afghan transport ministry said in a statement Islamabad-Kabul flight prices should “be adjusted to correspond with the conditions of a ticket before the victory of the Islamic Emirate” or the flights would be stopped.

According to agents in Afghanistan, the price of ticket for Islamabad-Kabul flight stands at around $2,500.

Flights between the two neighbouring countries have been severely limited since Kabul airport was reopened in Augusta amid chaotic evacuation of more than 100,000 Westerners and vulnerable Afghan nationals.

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