Multiple aircraft taking part in missions to evacuate people from Kabul diverted near the Pakistan border, with no official reasons being given for why the flights routed around the country’s airspace.
Belgian Air Force Dassault Falcon 7X aircraft, operating flight BAF80 bound for Islamabad, Pakistan landed at Al Dhafra Air Base (DHF), the United Arab Emirates on August 17, 2021, as seen on FlightAware.com.
The Belgian Air Force Falcon 7X was supposed to land in Islamabad with diplomats on board. Those were tasked with preparing rotation flights to Kabul, Afghanistan, to be carried out by C-130 and A400M transport aircraft expected to arrive later in the Pakistani capital. However, the aircraft entered a holding pattern above the United Arab Emirates before diverting to Al Dhafra.
Two hours later, the jet took off from Al Dhafra and finally reached Islamabad, Pakistan.
As part of the evacuation mission, a French Air Force Lockheed C-130 was also conducting flight CTM1345 to Kabul, Afghanistan but stopped at the border of Pakistani airspace, before diverting back to Al Dhafra Air Base on August 17, 2021, as per FlightAware.com data.
Rotation flights between Kabul and other safe locations of the region continued without further interruption through the Pakistani airspace from the morning of August 18, 2021.
The French Air and Space Force refused to comment. AeroTime also reached out to the Pakistani Civil Aviation Authority as well as Belgian Air Component but did not receive any answer at the time of publication.
On August 16, 2021, airlines were warned to avoid Kabul airspace after the Taliban seized control of the Afghan capital. The Afghanistan civil aviation authority issued a notice to airmen (NOTAM), advising that Kabul airspace had been released to the military.