Anyone who flew into Kabul on commercial air carriers in 2002 remembers their bags being tossed out of the jet cargo-hold to the ground and then the pile being transported to the terminal. With no working conveyer belts, that pile of luggage was recreated, and then passengers climbed amongst the bags to hopefully find their clothes. That is a scene no one wants to see recreated as the military forces that have been assisting with Afghan airports depart. More importantly, nobody will benefit from an increase in security breaches or air mishaps in the coming years.
Keeping Connections Keeps Hope Alive
The current air transport system works fairly well, online ticket purchases, on-time flights, low-accident rate, and connections to numerous major airports. The announcement that Turkey has committed to its NATO partners that they will retain personnel in Kabul should ensure the capital’s air-hub does not decline in capability. Turkey and Afghanistan have recently celebrated 100 years of diplomatic relations, and Turkey as one of the original 2001 NATO nations in Kabul, has been providing security and expertise for many years for the Airport.
This is a critical event for many nations involved in Afghanistan. In order for diplomats, aid/development personnel, and humanitarians to continue to operate in the country they must have safe and constant air transport. There cannot be a return to the pre-NATO era, or there may be a further reduction in embassy personnel and fewer business travelers.
Turkish citizens can already book their 4 hour and 40-minute flights from Istanbul to Kabul on Turkish Airlines. This will further ensure the continued connections between the two nations. Turkish Airlines is one of a nearly a dozen major regional and international carriers already using Hamid Karzai International Airport. Others include Air Arabia, Air India, Emirates, Kuwait Airways, Iran Air, Pakistan International Airlines, Ariana Afghan Airlines, Kam Air, and SpiceJet. This…