ISLAMABAD: Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) has decided to suspend its flights to and from Afghanistan for an “unspecified period”.
The suspension came after the Taliban government ordered the airline to cut ticket prices to levels seen before the collapse of the Western-backed Afghan government in August.
Confirming the development, a PIA spokesman said flight operations were suspended due to “inappropriate behavior” of Afghan officials.
“Last-minute decision changes by Afghan authorities and adverse conditions for foreign airlines in Kabul were also major reasons for the decision,” the spokesman said.
He said that PIA planes will not go to Kabul without insurance.
Earlier, the Taliban had warned the PIA and Afghan carrier Kam Air that they risked blocking their Afghan operations unless they agreed to cut ticket prices, which most Afghans face. has reached a level out of reach.
Most international airlines no longer fly to Afghanistan, according to travel agents in Kabul, with flights to the Pakistani capital Islamabad selling for up to $2,500 on PIA, compared to $120 to $150 previously.
The Afghan transport ministry said in a statement that prices on the route “must be adjusted to suit the ticket conditions prior to the Islamic Emirate’s victory” or flights will be halted.
It urged passengers and others to report any violations.
Flights between Afghanistan and Pakistan have been severely limited since the reopening of Kabul airport last month in the wake of the chaotic evacuation of more than 100,000 Western and vulnerable Afghans following a Taliban victory.
The PIA said that since the new Taliban government was formed, its employees in Kabul have faced last-minute changes in rules and flight permissions and “extremely intimidating behavior” from Taliban commanders.