Articles

Dec 28, 1999

Hijackers Aboard Indian Airlines Jet Make New Demands; Diplomats Continue Negotiations.

Hijackers aboard an Indian Airlines jet in Afghanistan have made new demands. They want $200 million and the release of 35 jailed Muslim militants. About 160 people are into their fifth day as hostages aboard that plane on the tarmac in Afghanistan. ..

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SHOW: CNN TODAY 13:00 pm ET

December 28, 1999; Tuesday 1:02 pm Eastern Time

Transcript # 99122801V13

SECTION: News; International

LENGTH: 434 words

HEADLINE: Hijackers Aboard Indian Airlines Jet Make New Demands; Diplomats Continue Negotiations

BYLINE: Lou Waters, Peter Bergen

HIGHLIGHT:
Hijackers aboard an Indian Airlines jet in Afghanistan have made new demands. They want $200 million and the release of 35 jailed Muslim militants. About 160 people are into their fifth day as hostages aboard that plane on the tarmac in Afghanistan.

BODY:

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.

LOU WATERS, CNN ANCHOR: Hijackers aboard an Indian Airlines jet in Afghanistan make new demands. They want $200 million and the release of 35 jailed Muslim militants. An Indian minister predicts negotiations will be lengthy. About 160 people are into their fifth day as hostages aboard that plane on the tarmac in Afghanistan. It has been cold and they have been hungry.

CNN’s Peter Bergen tells us what happened today.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

PETER BERGEN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): All day Tuesday, a delegation of Indian diplomats has been negotiating with the hijackers of the Indian jet now parked on the tarmac of Kandahar Airport for its fourth day.

At 7:00 in the morning, the engines on the jet, which had been continuously running for over 70 hours, suddenly cut off. The engines control the lighting, cooling and heating systems for the aircraft. Given the subzero nighttime temperatures in Kandahar, the engine failure was a potential problem for the welfare of the passengers. Indian diplomats contacted the hijackers from the airport control tower and asked the hijackers to allow an Indian engineer onto the plane to fix the problem.

The hijackers agreed to the request. As a guarantee for the safety of the engineer, one of the hijackers came out of the plane and was placed in a nearby vehicle while the engineer did his work. The hijacker appeared to be over six feet and slightly built. His face was covered with a black mask and he wore a red Nike shirt and checkered trousers.

By 6:00 p.m. local time, the aircraft engines turned back on and lights were visible inside the jet. Earlier in the day, Eric Dumul (ph), the United Nations coordinator for Afghanistan, left Kandahar for Pakistan saying that there had been no breakthrough in the negotiations with the hijackers.

Taliban Foreign Minister Wakil Ahmed Muttawakil said negotiations continue with the hijackers, but provided no specifics. Indian diplomats here are tight-lipped about the progress of the talks. According to Western diplomats who are monitoring the airport talks, in addition to the Indian and Nepalese passengers on the plane, they believe there are also two French passengers, four Spaniards, two Italians, a Belgian, a Canadian, two or perhaps four Swiss passengers and one or two Australians.

Peter Bergen, CNN, Kandahar, Afghanistan.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

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