Then after the defeat of the Soviet army in Afghanistan in 1989, and the Taliban regime took over in 1996, Afghanistan faced substantial economic sanctions from the international sector. That, combined with the fact that the Taliban government took over the company and stopped all international flights, affected the airline's economic status through most of the 1990s, a period where their fleet was reduced to only a handful of Russian built AN-26s, Yakolev YAK-40s and three Boeing 727s, which were used on the longest domestic routes.
The airline hasn't been devoid of tragedies: In 1954, a Douglas DC-3 of Ariana crashed in Herat, killing all 21 passengers on that flight. In 1969, a Boeing 727 of Ariana was arriving to London Gatwick Airport from Frankfurt when it crashed into a house, killing 50 of the 66 persons aboard. In 1985, an AN-26 of Ariana was shot down by rebels near Kandahar, killing all 52 passengers. In 1989, a 727 had a door opening in the middle of a flight from Kabul to Zaranj, and six people got killed when the plane crashed onto a hill. In 1995, another AN-26 crashed, after running out of gas at Jalalabad, and three passengers died. Another crash, this time of a YAK-40, happened in Jalalabad two years later while landing, and two people died. And in 1998, a 727 from Kandahar to Kabul crashed after hitting a mountain, and all 45 people in it lost their lives.
In February 2000, to escape a Taliban death squad, nine men, led by brothers Ali Safi and Mohammed Safi, hijacked a Boeing 727 containing more than 180 people. The plane was diverted through Central Asia and Russia before landing at Stansted Airport north of London, where the hijacking ended four days later with a peaceful surrender. The men were convicted in December 2001 of hijacking, false imprisonment and weapons offenses. They each served sentences of between 27 and 30 months.
After the Taliban was forced from power in 2001 following the September 11, 2001 Terrorist Attack, and subsequent U.S. invasion of Afghanistan, Ariana once again has been able to fly to international cities, its first international flight in many years landing at Indira Gandhi International Airport in New Delhi. According to the airline's management, they are looking forward to re-establishing international service to most other cities it used to serve very soon.