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January 4, 2000
Hijackers Got No Fresh Arms: Taleban
A representative of the Taleban movement has denied reports that the hijackers of the Indian Airlines Flight 814 received additional weapons while the plane was parked at the Kandahar airport.
"I think it is something diabolic," Hakim Abdul Mujahid, the representative of the Taleban in the United States said in an interview. "I can tell you it is absolutely not true."
Reports from Nice, France quoted three former French hostages as saying that they saw crates of new and modern weapons being brought into the Indian Airlines plane at Kandahar. The three hostages -- Daniele and Gaston Goepfert and Francoise Jougla spoke at a press conference upon arrival at the Nice airport from New Delhi.
"I will tell why it is not possible," Mujahid told rediff.com.
"There is a government in Afghanistan and the government is responsible for everything. There are no factions in the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan. There are no factions in the Taleban Islamic Movement. There is absolute religious obedience. No one can think that what is against the idea of the leadership.
"It is not like the government of France or other western governments where there are factions," he said. "One is thinking else and the other is thinking else."
Mujahid labeled reports that the Taleban offered assistance to the hijackers as a part of the "western propaganda by those who want to isolate the Islamic government of Afghanistan."
He added that several western countries, including France, were still supporting the Jamiat-i-Islami political group led by former Afghan president Burhanuddin Rabbani, in its war against the Taleban.
Mujahid said his government had no clear idea where the hijackers of the Indian Airlines plane were, though he was sure that they had left Afghanistan. He said that there was a strong possibility that the hijackers were in Pakistan, although Afghanistan share borders with several other countries, including Iran, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan and Tajikistan.
"These borders are not much controlled borders," he said, "Pakistani people come in and go out with no visa.
"Sure the Pakistani government declared that they (the hijackers) are not allowed to come to Pakistan," Mujahid said. "Even some of the borders might be closed, but in parts. They cannot seal the border. It is a very long border. They cannot control the whole border. But it is the same situation with Iran."
Mujahid said that during the talks at the Kandahar airport on December 31 the Taleban said it would not give political asylum nor try the hijackers in Afghanistan.
"We gave a guarantee of safety to the hijackers only that they would not be attacked," Mujahid said.
"We agreed that we would give the hijackers 10 hours to leave Afghanistan. And within 10 hours they have left Afghanistan. Now we cannot say for sure where they are."
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