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December 31, 1999
154 hostages exchanged for 3 militants
The Indian government reached an agreement with the hijackers on Friday whereby the 154 hostages aboard Flight 814 were released in exchange for three militants, Maulana Masood Azhar, Mushtaq Ahmed Zargar and Ahmed Omar Syed Sheikh.
All the three militants accompanied External Affairs Minister Jaswant Singh to Kandahar this afternoon by a Boeing 737.
National Security Adviser Brajesh Mishra told reporters, "the hijackers will remain with the Taleban, they will deal with the hijackers in whatever way they deem fit..." Hijacking is a capital offence in Afghanistan, but the Taleban has already declared it will not have the hijackers. The terrorists have now been given 10 hours to leave Afghanistan; they are expected to be taken to another as yet unamed country.
According to CNN, the Indian government, which had earlier indicated its unwillingness to reach a deal with the hijackers, changed its mind when it discovered that the terrorists possessed more grenades than they had originally suspected.
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