New Delhi: The Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) on Thursday suspended flights to Kabul, the capital of Afghanistan, reported news agency Reuters. It cited “heavy-handed” interference by Taliban authorities, including arbitrary rule changes and intimidation of staff behind the decision. The suspension came as the Taliban government ordered the airline, the only international company operating regularly out of Kabul, to cut ticket prices to levels seen before the fall of the Western-backed Afghan government in August.Also Read - After Nearly 20 Months, Iran Reopens Border For Foreign Tourists. Check Details

“We are suspending our flight operations to Kabul from today because of the heavy-handedness of the authorities,” a spokesman said. Earlier, the Taliban warned PIA and Afghan carrier Kam Air that their Afghan operations risked being blocked unless they agreed to cut ticket prices, which have reached levels increasingly out of reach for most Afghans. Also Read - Australia to Lift Covid Travel Ban For Fully Vaccinated Citizens After More Than 18 Months

With most international airlines no longer flying to Afghanistan, tickets for flights to the Pakistani capital, Islamabad, have been selling for as much as $2,500 on PIA, according to travel agents in Kabul, as compared to $120-$150 before. The Afghan transport ministry said that a statement price on the route should “be adjusted to correspond with the conditions of a ticket before the victory of the Islamic Emirate” or the flights would be stopped. It urged passengers and others to report any violations. Also Read - Flying to US From India? Check Travel, Vaccination Status And Covid Test Requirement Here

Flights between Afghanistan and Pakistan have been severely limited since Kabul airport was reopened last month in the wake of the chaotic evacuation of more than 100,000 Westerners and vulnerable Afghans following the victory of Taliban.

(Based on agency inputs)