Hotels being readied in Islamabad to accommodate people leaving Afghanistan

Published August 27, 2021
In this file photo, civilians prepare to board a plane during an evacuation at Hamid Karzai International Airport in Kabul, Afghanistan. — Reuters/File
In this file photo, civilians prepare to board a plane during an evacuation at Hamid Karzai International Airport in Kabul, Afghanistan. — Reuters/File

ISLAMABAD: Islam­abad’s administration took control of all hotels in the capital on Thursday for several weeks to arrange accommodation for foreigners being evacuated from Afghanistan, sources said.

Security measures in and around the hotels have been beefed up, with police and paramilitary personnel put on high alert, they said.

Senior officials of the administration and police told Dawn that the steps were taken after directives in this regard were issued by the government.

Thousands of foreigners, including diplomats and other staff of foreign missions and journalists, are expected to arrive in the capital in the next couple of weeks, the sources said.

About 1,500 foreigners are scheduled to arrive from the neighbouring country on Friday (today) aboard separate flights, they said, adding that over 1,000 foreigners are expected to land in Islamabad on each day of the next couple of weeks.

Security measures beefed up in and around Islamabad hotels

The officials said that due to multiple bombings at the Kabul airport on Thursday, the evacuation of foreigners from Afghanistan would speed up, adding that these transit passengers would move to their own countries after a brief stay in the federal capital.

The capital’s administration asked the managements of all the hotels to close reservations for 21 days starting on Friday, leaving all the vacant rooms in them at the disposal of the administration.

So far the people staying in the hotels have not been asked to leave, they said, adding that such requests could be made if the need arises.

A notification issued by the office of District Magistrate said that in view of the current situation across the border, thousands of people were being evacuated from Afghanistan and passengers using transit flights for the purpose were staying in Islamabad.

“In order to facilitate the passengers, it is requested that reservations in all hotels of Islamabad may be closed from tomorrow onwards for the next 21 days at least,” it said.

“All vacant rooms may be placed at the disposal of the administration for accommodation of passengers till further orders,” it added.

Published in Dawn, August 27th, 2021

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