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Monday, 7 February, 2000, 08:15 GMT
Analysis: Who are the hijackers?




By Kate Clark in Kabul

It is still not certain who the hijackers of the Ariana airliner are, but they are almost certainly from Afghanistan, because all the names on the passenger list were Afghan.

They are reported to be demanding the release of a key opposition figure imprisoned by Afghanistan's ruling Taliban authorities.


Kabul Plane hijacking is unknown in Afghanistan
But the Taleban, speaking early on Monday from their headquarters in Kandahar, said they still had no idea what the men wanted.

It is the first time an Afghan airliner has been hijacked.

There has been war in Afghanistan for 20 years, but the combat has been direct - hijacking planes or kidnapping opponents is not really Afghan style.

Indian hijack ordeal

Possibly, the hijackers learned from the success of pro-Kashmiri militants who seized an Indian plane in December and forced it to fly to Afghanistan.

They managed to secure their own safe passage and the release of their leader, jailed in India.

The Afghan opposition, for their part, have condemned the hijacking and said they took no part in it.

The Taleban will be hoping for co-operation from Britain. They have said this is a humanitarian tragedy.

During the Indian plane hijack, the Taleban staunchly insisted on dealing with any country with nationals on board, whether that government recognised them or not.

They are hoping for similar treatment now.

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See also:
07 Feb 00 |  UK
Hijack talks begin
06 Feb 00 |  South Asia
Spotlight falls on Afghan commander
06 Feb 00 |  South Asia
Flying in the face of adversity
31 Dec 99 |  South Asia
Indian hijack drama over

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