Afghanistan airline Kam Air evacuates its passenger planes across border to Iran

Airline was founded in2003 and was one of country’s top taxpayers

Graeme Massie
Los Angeles
Thursday 26 August 2021 18:57
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Wounded rushed to hospital in taxis after double explosion in Kabul

Afghanistan’s main commercial airline has flown some of its fleet across the border to Iran in the wake of the Taliban’s return to power.

Iran’s Civil Aviation Organisation says that the country received an unspecified number of Kam Air planes after a request from the company, according to Forbes.

Desperate Afghans were pictured climbing onto the company’s planes during chaotic evacuation scenes in Kabul.

“Following the escalation of clashes and tensions at Kabul airport, the owner of the private Afghan airline Kam Air requested the transfer of a number of the company’s airplanes to Iranian airports,” said CAO spokesperson Mohammad Hassan Zibakhsh.

“Iran has also issued a landing permit for these planes in line with international cooperation standards with neighbouring countries.”

None of the aircraft had any passengers onboard, said Mr Zibakhsh.

Kam Air was set up by businessman Zamaray Kamgar in 2003 and carried around one million passengers a year on its fleet of 12 Boeing and Airbus planes.

Mr Kamgar got into the aviation business when a warlord, whose troops he had supplied with food and fuel, could not pay him and instead gave him a Boeing 727, according to The New York Times.

A 2005 crash killed 104 people onboard a Kam Air flight, and the airline was briefly blacklisted by the US military, which claimed that its planes were involved in opium smuggling, added the newspaper.

The airline is based at Kabul’s Hamid Karzai international airport and operates flights to 12 places in Afghanistan, as well as Turkey, India and destinations in the Gulf and central Asia.

It has been one of the biggest tax payers in the country.

More than 40 Afghan air force aircraft and 585 airmen flew to Uzbekistan, and others escaped to Tajikistan as the Afghan government and military collapsed and the Taliban took control of the country.

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