Articles

Dec 27, 1999

Negotiations Underway as Hijacked Indian Airlines Jet Sits in Afghanistan.

An Indian Airlines airbus commandeered Friday sits on a tarmac in Afghanistan while direct negotiations with Indian officials gets underway for the first time. The hijack ordeal involving 160 hostages is well into its fourth day. ..

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CNN

SHOW: CNN TODAY 13:00 pm ET

December 27, 1999; Monday 1:01 pm Eastern Time

Transcript # 99122701V13

SECTION: News; International

LENGTH: 954 words

HEADLINE: Negotiations Underway as Hijacked Indian Airlines Jet Sits in Afghanistan

BYLINE: Lou Waters, Peter Bergen

HIGHLIGHT:
An Indian Airlines airbus commandeered Friday sits on a tarmac in Afghanistan while direct negotiations with Indian officials gets underway for the first time. The hijack ordeal involving 160 hostages is well into its fourth day.

BODY:

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

LOU WATERS, CNN ANCHOR: A half-dozen hijackers, a band of negotiators, truckloads of heavily armed soldiers, and 160 exhausted yet terrified captives: Those are the players in a hijack ordeal that’s now well into its fourth day. An Indian Airlines airbus commandeered Friday sits on a tarmac in Afghanistan while direct negotiations with Indian officials gets underway for the first time. Watching events unfold is journalist Peter Bergen, who filed this report just minutes ago.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

PETER BERGEN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Monday morning at 9:40 a.m. local time, the hijackers of the Indian airliner said they would start killing passengers within three hours if demands for the release of prisoners held in India were not met. At 11:30 a.m., an U.N. plane evacuated an Indian man to Pakistan. The man was suffering from diabetes. He had been released by the hijackers earlier.

As the 12:40 p.m. deadline drew near, the hijackers threatened to kill two Western passengers. Taliban Foreign Minister Wakil Ahmed Muttawakil told the hijackers that if they carried out their threats, Taliban troops would storm the plane. A few minutes before the deadline expired, a convoy of approximately 80 heavily armed Taliban soldiers surrounded the plane. The deadline expired without any incident.

A junior Indian diplomat, talking to the hijackers from the control tower, assured them that a high-level delegation from New Delhi would fly to Kandahar, and that seemed to mollify the hijackers.

At 5:30 p.m. local time, an Indian jet landed with 30-member delegation from New Delhi. The delegation included diplomats, aircraft engineers, a replacement crew, doctors and nurses. The team of negotiators is headed by the joint secretary of the Indian Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Indian diplomats, U.N. negotiators and the Taliban foreign minister are now meeting at the airport behind closed doors. Airport authorities continue to supply bread, rice and beans to the 150 passengers on the plane.

Peter Bergen, CNN, Kandahar Airport, Afghanistan. (END VIDEOTAPE)

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LOAD-DATE: December 27, 1999

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