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August 31, 2021

US military’s exit leaves Kabul airport uncontrolled, says FAA

US civil aircraft have been barred from flying over the country unless issued prior authorisation.

The US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has unveiled that Hamid Karzai International Airport (KBL) in Kabul, Afghanistan, is now without air traffic control (ATC) services as the US military marked its complete exit from the country.

In addition, US civil aircraft have been restricted from operating over the country unless provided prior authorisation.

In a statement, the FAA said: “Due to both the lack of air traffic services and a functional civil aviation authority in Afghanistan, as well as ongoing security concerns, US civil operators, pilots, and US-registered civil aircraft are prohibited from operating at any altitude over much of Afghanistan.”

Earlier this month, the US took over the air traffic control at Hamid Karzai International Airport for ensuring the safe departure of its staff from the country.

This move came after the Taliban’s claimed victory in a protracted civil war after gaining control over the capital city.

The FAA stated that US civil operators ‘may continue to use one high-altitude jet route near the far eastern border for overflights. Any US civil aircraft operator that wants to fly into/out of or over Afghanistan must receive prior authorisation from the FAA’.

Furthermore, the government agency said that the aeroplanes landing at Kabul or flying in Afghanistan airspace should use ‘extreme caution’.

On 18 August, the FAA allowed US air carriers and civilian pilots to run evacuation or relief flights in Kabul with the prior nod of the US Defense Department.

Last week, more than 100 people were killed after twin bomb blasts outside the Hamid Karzai International Airport.

One of the blasts took place outside the crowded gate of the airport while another was reported at a hotel nearby.

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