PIA spokesman Abdullah Khan said in a statement that the service was a “special flight” to create “goodwill” with the people of Afghanistan and to “strengthen humanitarian efforts.”
The spokesman clarified to CNN that this was “not an aid flight.” PIA said the flight was handled by the Kabul airport staff and its flight name and number were posted on boards at the airport.
It was not immediately clear whether it could be described as a “commercial” flight, however, as it is unclear whether people were actually able to buy tickets for the plane.
PIA CEO Arshad Malik said the company will “hopefully” be able to restore full services soon.
Civilians have been left scrambling to find safe passage from the country since the Taliban takeover in mid-August threw a US-led evacuation effort into confusion.
PIA said the Boeing 777 aircraft departed Islamabad, Pakistan’s capital city, at 6:45 a.m. local time after special arrangements had been made by Afghanistan’s civil aviation authorities and PIA’s staff.
Foreign journalists traveled into the Afghan capital on the flight while employees of the World Bank were brought back to Islamabad on the return leg, the spokesman told CNN. PIA’s chief operating officer Air Commodore Jawad Zafar, was also on board.