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December 27, 1999
'It looks like something may happen tonight'
"It looks like something may happen tonight, but we don't have the information to talk about it," Mohammad Khiber, a civil aviation official at the Kandahar airport, told rediff.com tonight
"In the morning," he revealed in a telephone conversation from Kandahar airport where the hijacked Indian Airlines aircraft has been parked since Saturday morning, "there was a lot of tension when the hijackers told us that if the Indian government did not meet their demands they would kill the passengers and themselves by 1 pm our time."
"So the Taliban forces surrounded the plane in case the hijackers resorted to killing the passengers. The Taliban never wanted to talk to the hijackers, so they were very happy when the Indian representatives arrived today," Khiber added. The Taliban sent a reception committee to receive the Indian delegation.
After the Indian delegation's arrival the situation has returned to "normal," Khiber said. "The airstrip is almost empty except for a few jeeps and personnel, though a few Taliban commanders have arrived."
"We have just served dinner to the Indian officials who are right now sitting with the UN officials, exchanging information and ideas on what to do next. We served the passengers their dinner too, which consisted of rice, meat, salad, bananas, apples and oranges."
"We are trying to keep the passengers as comfortable as possible," Khiber said. "We have been servicing the air shafts and toilets so that the passengers do not have to bear any stench. We have been serving them their meals on fresh plastic plates which are not reused." However, he added that,"we can't see what is happening inside the plane, all the serving has been done from outside the plane."
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