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Sunday, 6 February, 2000, 18:20 GMT
Ariana: Flying in the face of adversity

plane Ariana has a fleet of ageing aircraft


State-owned Ariana Airlines continues to operate, despite international sanctions and a ban on international flights.

The Afghan airline, based in Kabul, has four, ageing Boeing-727 aircraft and five Russian-made Antonov aircraft.

Maintenance standards are considered extremely poor in a country that has been battered by more than 20 years of war.


Osama bin Laden Osama bin Laden: Living in Afghanistan
On 14 November, 1999, the United Nations imposed sanctions against the airline to punish the Taleban Islamic movement for its refusal to extradite the Saudi dissident Osama bin Laden, who is believed to be living in Afghanistan.

As a result, Ariana has been barred from international flights but continues to fly domestic routes.

The Taleban say they will not turn over bin Laden because Afghan culture and tradition makes it impossible to hand over a guest to his enemies.

They also argue they do not have an extradition treaty with the United States.

Poor accident record

Three Ariana aircraft have crashed in the last three years:

  • In August 1997, the former Prime Minister, Abdul Rahim Ghaforzai died in a plane crash.

  • In January, 1998, 80 died when a Russian-built Antonov flying from Kandahar to Herat got lost in fog while looking for an emergency landing strip.

  • In March, 1998, around 45 people died when an Afghan Ariana Airlines Boeing 727 crashed into a mountain in bad weather.
Kabul and Mazar-e-Sharif airports are in Taleban-controlled territory and house military jets and fighter bombers, as well as being used by aid agencies and the United Nations.
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See also:
15 Oct 99 |  South Asia
UN agrees sanctions against Taleban
14 Jan 98 |  Asia-Pacific
52 dead in Taleban plane crash
19 Mar 98 |  S/W Asia
Pilgrim plane missing en route to Kabul
03 Aug 98 |  South Asia
Analysis: Who are the Taleban?
30 Dec 99 |  South Asia
Indian hijack crisis: Special report
01 Feb 00 |  South Asia
Taleban firm on bin Laden

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