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December 26, 1999
Diabetic passenger released
Syed Firdaus Ashraf
Anil Khurana, a passenger on Flight 814 suffering from diabetes, was released by the hijackers on Sunday afternoon.
On Saturday night, Khurana, 45, had been released for treatment. After medical assistance, he was sent back to the aircraft. "The hijackers demanded his return and therefore our government sent him back at 9.30 pm Afghan time yesterday," a Kandahar airport official told rediff.com However, it is learnt his conditioned worsened today, and the hijackers freed him for medical attention.
Khurana, who is being treated at the Kandahar military hospital, refused to leave with the UN delegation that left the city this evening. He said he would not leave until his brother and other passengers on Flight 814 were released by the hijackers.
"Nearly 300 Taleban soldiers have surrounded the airport. Nobody is speaking to the hijackers at this moment," the official disclosed.
Lunch and dinner was served to the crew and passengers. The aircraft's stock of water was replenished this afternoon. The toilets, which were not cleaned since the aircraft's stopover in Kathmandu on Friday afternoon, was also cleaned on Sunday morning.
Two United Nations officials including Erik de Mul (who is from the UN Office for the Coordination for Humanitarian Efforts in Islamabad) reached Kandahar airport on Sunday morning. They met Foreign Minister Abdul Wakil Muttawakil and Civil Aviation Minister Mullah Akhtar Mansoor. Though Kabul is the capital of Afghanistan, Kandahar is the seat of the Taleban government, where its leaders live.
Early on Sunday morning, the crew and passengers were provided with breakfast by the Taleban government. This was done after the hijackers demanded that breakfast be served to them.
Asked if the passengers are safe, the official said, "We have no idea about the safety of the passengers as there is not much communication between the hijackers and the Taleban officials."
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