The first flydubai flight landed in Kabul on Wednesday since the low-cost carrier relaunched services to Afghanistan after a roughly two-year hiatus, Taliban authorities said. The United Arab Emirates-based airline became the first international carrier to resume flights to the country since the US forces’ chaotic withdrawal in 2021, when the Afghan capital’s airport was trashed during the mass evacuation of civilians. A suicide bombing on the airport’s perimeter, targeting crowds who were trying to flee the country, killed more than 170 people including 13 US troops. The resumption of flydubai flights was announced in mid-October, with twice-daily flights planned between Dubai and Kabul. The first flight was met with a water cannon salute when it touched down on Wednesday morning. flydubai “resumed its flights to Afghanistan after an approximate two-year hiatus”, said a statement from the office of Abdul Ghani Baradar, the deputy prime minister for economic affairs, on social media site X. “This reestablishment of air connectivity with flydubai signifies a milestone in revitalising healthy competition among airlines,” it said. The full operation of Kabul’s airport is seen as crucial to reviving Afghanistan’s shattered economy. Apart from flydubai, Afghanistan’s Kam Air and Ariana Afghan Airlines currently operate limited services from Kabul to destinations including Dubai, Moscow, Islamabad and Istanbul. Last year, UAE-based company GAAC signed a contract to manage Afghanistan’s air traffic, an agreement that was expected to bring back international airlines.