Turkish Airlines jet flies into Kabul, leaves with 300 passengers

A Turkish Airlines civilian flight managed to fly into Afghanistan and land at Kubul airport Monday amid the mass panic in the war-torn country — before taking off again with more than 300 passengers.

Turkish Airlines’ Flight 706, a Boeing 777 aircraft, departed from Istanbul early Monday morning for Kabul’s Hamid Karzai International Airport, as part of what appeared to be its regular daily schedule, according to Flightradar24.

The plane entered Afghanistan airspace from neighboring Turkmenistan and remained in a holding pattern for almost an hour before landing in Kabul at 7:44 a.m.

Amid the chaos at the airport, the Turkish Airlines jet appeared to park at a section of the airport that’s mostly used by the military, according to Insider, citing Flightradar24.

The return flight to Istanbul was initially scheduled for 8:15 a.m., according to Flightradar24, but it didn’t actually take off until after 1 p.m. 

US soldiers stand guard along a perimeter at the international airport in Kabul, Afghanistan on August 16, 2021.
AP/Shekib Rahmani
People struggle to enter the airport to flee the country after rumors that foreign countries are evacuating people even without visas, after Taliban took control of Kabul.
US officials will “secure” the Kabul airport while “taking over air traffic control” so that Americans can be evacuated

The plane eventually took off with 324 passengers who were Turkish citizens, the Hurriyet Daily News reported, describing the mission as a “special Turkish Airlines flight.”

Turkish Airlines, which normally operates 10 flights between Istanbul and Kabul every week, according to the Turkish paper, has since canceled all its flights to and out of Afghanistan.

A representative for Turkish Airlines did not return The Post’s request for comment on its daring Monday flight.

Afghans gather around the area of Kabul Airport that is controlled by US military in Kabul, hoping to escape after the Taliban forces seized the country.
Afghans gather around the area of Kabul Airport that is controlled by US military in Kabul, hoping to escape after the Taliban forces seized the country.
Bashir Darwish/UPI/Shutterstock

According to FlightAware, the plane has since continued on with other operations for the airlines, flying to Athens and Bangkok since Monday.

US officials have vowed to “secure” the chaotic airport while “taking over air traffic control” in order to evacuate Americans, with President Joe Biden ramping up the military presence in the war-torn country’s capital to 7,000 US troops.

Still, shots have been fired at the airport as residents of the capital make a last-ditch effort to escape Taliban rule with images of people falling out of the air from departing cargo plans and plummeting to their deaths.

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