The suspension of flights leaving Kabul has left countless civilians at the mercy of the Taliban. But even if flights resume, Afghans fleeing the country will still need to test negative for Covid, according to a baffling report.
Soon after the Taliban seized the Afghan capital on Sunday, hundreds of civilians began to pour into Kabul’s international airport in hopes of being airlifted to safety. But by Monday morning, commercial airlines had halted operations in the Afghan capital due to gunfire around the air hub – caused at least in part by US soldiers firing warning shots at civilians gathering on the tarmac.
But the suspension of regular outbound flights is just one of several hurdles facing Afghans seeking a one-way ticket out of the country: airlines operating in the Afghan capital ask for passengers to provide a negative coronavirus test.
The arguably ill-timed flight requirement was spotted at the end of an Atlantic article chronicling the frustrating story of an Afghan interpreter, Khan, and his family as they try to secure safe passage out of the country.
“Today, Sunday, the Taliban are in Kabul… The neighborhood where Khan was renting a room has become dangerous, and he and his family have fled, walking six miles to another hiding place. He needs to find a facility that will administer the Covid-19 tests required by the airlines. He needs to get his family to the airport. He needs two more days,” reads the last paragraph of the article.
Turkish Airlines and Emirates, two large carriers that operate in Kabul, require negative PCR tests for passengers above a certain age.
The detail caught the eye of Spencer Klavan, an associate editor at the Claremont Institute, who expressed considerable disapproval with the airline policy.
Could whoever is responsible for this kind of horseshit meet me out by the bleachers, I just wanna talk pic.twitter.com/6ogEoVkc74
— Spencer A. Klavan (@SpencerKlavan) August 16, 2021