Afghan airline Kam Air is struggling to resume operations after nine staff members were killed in a Taliban attack on a Kabul hotel at the weekend, a company director said on Wednesday.
The bodies of seven Ukrainian employees of the airline, among at least 20 people killed in Saturday’s raid on Kabul’s Hotel Intercontinental, were sent home on Wednesday. The other two Kam Air staffers killed were from Venezuela.
Most of the other foreign staff have left the country, crippling operations.
“We used to have 37 flights a day on average. We now have about seven,” Ramin Youresh, business development director for the Kam group of companies, told Reuters.
“Most domestic flights are cancelled because we don’t have the crew and we don’t have the airplanes.”
Kam Air, one of three main Afghan airlines, provides links between major cities in a country where travel by road is often dangerous and unreliable. It also flies some international routes in the region.
It was the second time in less than a year that a major private company in Afghanistan had suffered a devastating loss. More than 30 employees of mobile phone company Roshan Telecommunications were killed in a truck bomb attack near the German embassy in Kabul in May last year.
Kam Air had 62 expatriate staff, both pilots and cabin crew, who used the Intercontinental as their Kabul base. About 40 of them were in the hotel at the time of the attack.
“Most of them have left, they’re in a bad way, they’re in shock. They need three or four weeks to recover, then decide if they are willing to come back,” Youresh said.
“We expect most won’t come back.”
Copyright Photo: Kam Air Boeing 737-86N TC-AAB (msn 28620) DXB (Konstantin von Wedelstaedt). Image: 940750.
Kam Air aircraft slide show: