For the first time since the Islamists took control, Afghan police at Kabul airport has returned to work, manning checkpoints alongside Taliban security, authorities said on Sunday. When the Taliban overthrew the government in Kabul last month, police officers fled, dreading what the Islamists would do. However, two policemen said they returned to work on Saturday after receiving phone calls from Taliban leaders.

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However, a reporter on Sunday spotted border police officers stationed at numerous checkpoints outside the airport's main buildings, including the domestic terminal. The Taliban claim to have extended broad amnesty to all former government employees, including the army, police, and other security forces. Officials claim they intend to merge opposing troops, but they haven't said how or how they plan to sustain a security apparatus of about 600,000 personnel.

The Kabul airport was extensively damaged during the chaotic evacuation of over 120,000 people that concluded on August 30 with the withdrawal of US forces. The Taliban, who surged into Kabul on August 15 after routing government forces, have been hurrying to reopen the capital's airport with Qatari technical support. The UAE has established an air bridge to send tons of help to Afghanistan, with planes carrying hundreds of tons of medical and food supplies.

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An airport staffer who handles security for a private company verified that border police had been stationed in the airport's vicinity since Saturday. In recent days, Qatar Airways has conducted charter flights out of Kabul, carrying primarily foreigners and Afghans who could not leave during the evacuation. Last week, an Afghan carrier restarted internal flights, and Pakistan International Airlines is set to commence flights from Islamabad to Kabul in the coming days.

from asianetnews

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