Kabul Airport to reopen to civilians today

Kabul’s Hamid Karzai International Airport (HKAIA) is set to reopen its civilian side today. Last weekend, while Kabul was falling

Hamid Karzai International Airport to reopen to civilians

Photo: Getty Images

Kabul’s Hamid Karzai International Airport (HKAIA) is set to reopen its civilian side today.

Last weekend, while Kabul was falling to the Taliban, foreign citizens, human rights defenders and Afghans with connections to the U.S. government scrambled to leave the country. The initial wave of evacuations, meant for Afghans with Special Immigration Visas has opened to all seeking evacuation from the country, but the Taliban have set-up checkpoints around HKAIA, stripping Afghani’s of documentation critical to securing travel.

HKAIA became overrun, leaving chaos on the ground. Today, the civilian side of HKAIA will open. Hourly military flights out of HKAIA began on the 18th, but the situation is still dire. U.S. personnel have established a system on the ground to get civilians on planes, and to process paperwork while they are in the air, the Taliban security lockdown is complicating the process.

Today’s opening is unlikely to change much. On the civilian side, planes have stringent requirements, and only a few civilian planes have made the trip. Civilian flights will likely continue, but at a slow rate. Short-term, deployed U.S. military personnel might be able to stabilize HKAIA, but risk inciting conflict with Taliban fighters. The situation is continuously evolving.

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