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December 30, 1999
One hostage released for medical treatment, returns to plane
A hostage aboard Flight 814, who was released for medical treatment, has returned to the plane.
After the man vomitted repeatedly on the plane, he was evacuated to the emergency medical room at the airport itself, Kandahar airport sources told rediff.com this afternoon. His identity was not known; he was dressed in a white jacket and was clean shaven. He is reportedly suffering from stomach trouble. Ninety minutes later, he returned to the aircraft after treatment.
Earlier, armed troops surrounded the hijacked Indian Airlines Airbus on Thursday morning, but Taliban sources at Kandahar airport said there was nothing unusual about the move.
An armoured personnel carrier also arrived at the airport, leading to speculation that the Taliban was preparing to storm the aircraft and release the 155 hostages on board.
"It is true," confirmed Mohammad Khibar, an official at the airport, in a telephone conversation. "But it is more of a precautionary measure."
A little later, Afghan Foreign Minister Wakil Ahmed Muttawakil also confirmed there was nothing usual about the deployment of Taliban soldiers. It was merely the changing of the guard. The hijackers had been informed of this routine, he said.
Khibar said the hijackers and the Indian negotiators began talks this morning, without the presence of Taleban or United Nations intermediaries. "Each session lasts about 20 minutes, but the hijackers are not allowing the passengers to interact with the Indian team."
After each session, Khibar said, the Indians got back to their superiors in government in New Delhi on their satellite phones. "They have had some four rounds of talks since the morning," he said.
The general mood at Kandahar airport, he said, is peaceful. "There is no tension."
Taleban representative in the US Abdul Hakim Mujahid told rediff.com in New York last night, "If no solution is found, we will ask the plane to leave Afghanistan. If they (the hijackers) refuse, we will motivate them in anyway. But it will be the very, very last option."
On Wednesday, Mullah Wakil Ahmed Muttawakil, the Taleban's foreign minister, called upon the Indian government to "accept or agree to" the demands made by the terrorists who hijacked the IA aircraft last Friday and to swiftly end the stalemate in Kandahar. However, Mujahid said, his government will continue to co-operate in the negotiations.
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