As countries evacuate their embassy personnel from Afghanistan by helicopter, I'm wondering what would actually happen if all of Afghanistan's neighbours deny use of their airspace for these flights. There are six countries: Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, Pakistan, China, and Iran. Presumably the evacuation flights will have to cross one of these countries, and presumably these countries can deny permission.

If they all deny permission, then there's the further question of "how does one get the personnel to the embassy in the first place?". It sounds impossible for landlocked countries, barring some science-fiction style drop from space beyond the Karman line.

If a landlocked country's neighbours all deny passage, how can a country nonetheless operate an embassy in the landlocked country?

A historical parallel that comes to mind is the Berlin blockade. However, I can't find any details for why the Soviets didn't deny its airspace to the Allies, or if they did, how the Allies were able to fly through that airspace.

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    "However, I can't find any details for why the Soviets didn't deny its airspace to the Allies" - the air corridors between Allied-occupied Berlin and Western Germany were the only transit corridors actually formally negotiated with a signed agreement, there were no land-based corridors and as such Allied forces had no fundamental right to cross Soviet-held territory but they did have a right to fly across it...
    – user16741
    Commented Aug 16, 2021 at 4:13
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    The question is entirely hypothetical except for the Berlin part, which is mostly historical, so better asked elsewhere (H.SE), and also easy to google an answer for en.wikipedia.org/wiki/West_Berlin_Air_Corridor Commented Aug 16, 2021 at 4:34
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    @Fizz it wasnt much better when I was living there in the 80s - the RAF base I was on (RAF Gatow) had one of the only fence-versions of the Berlin Wall about 10 metres from the base perimeter fence, and a huge Soviet tank battalion stationed just the other side in East Germany. Aircraft taking off and landing at RAF Gatow were routinely harassed, and you could regularly see East German guards taking photos of you as you walked around the base.
    – user16741
    Commented Aug 16, 2021 at 4:51
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    @Allure I cant find a name either, but it seems there were a number of agreements and protocols agreed to and signed in 1944 and 1945 concerning the ongoing governance of Berlin by the Four Powers, so its probable that its nameless as they are generally referred to as the "Quadripartite Agreements". filestore.nationalarchives.gov.uk/pdfs/small/…
    – user16741
    Commented Aug 16, 2021 at 5:02
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    it was part of the quadripartite agreements see en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Berlin_Air_Safety_Center "Operations began in February 1946 under quadripartite flight rules Paragraph 4. Paragraph 4 of the rules begins: "The Berlin Air Safety Centre has been established in the Allied Control Authority Building with the object of ensuring safety of flights for all aircraft in the Berlin area. BASC regulates all flying in the Berlin control zone and also in the corridors extending from Berlin to the boundaries of adjacent control zones."" Commented Aug 16, 2021 at 5:16

1 Answer 1


A totally surrounded country either has a transit agreement or it has a problem.

  • For instance, a German exclave in Switzerland applies Swiss tax rates because using German ones would be a impractical.
  • The Berlin blockade is no parallel at all, Berlin was governed by the armistice agreements after WWII which spelled out transit rights. The US appeared ready to go to war over a closure of the air corridors, so they stayed open.
  • Article 40 of the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations spells out requirements for transit countries, which do not include granting a visa in the first place. If a visa is granted, they have to respect diplomatic privileges.
  • The link you give for the Berlin blockade dates to 1972, which is after the Berlin blockade. Wrong link?
    – Allure
    Commented Aug 16, 2021 at 4:34
  • I notice you've amended the link to the Potsdam agreement. According to the link Moo gave in the comments, the actual agreement was made on 30 November 1945, which is after the Potsdam conference. I am going to redirect this aspect of the question to the History SE, though, since it's irrelevant to the question asked in the OP.
    – Allure
    Commented Aug 16, 2021 at 5:06
  • Right, that one reconfirmed the Berlin status. In German one is the Viermächteabkommen, the other is the Viermächtestatus.
    – o.m.
    Commented Aug 16, 2021 at 5:07
  • @Allure, there is Yalta with the principles and the London protocol setting boundaries, confirmed by the Potsdam protocol after the cessation of hostilities. There were provisional corridors prior to Potsdam.
    – o.m.
    Commented Aug 16, 2021 at 5:12
  • history.stackexchange.com/questions/65804/… Moving the Berlin blockade aspect of this question here.
    – Allure
    Commented Aug 16, 2021 at 5:14

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