The Hijacking Of An Afghan Airliner Comes To A Peaceful End


The Hijacking Of An Afghan Airliner Comes To A Peaceful End


Feb 10, 2000, London - The hijacking of an Afghan airliner after four days came to a peaceful end at Stansted Airport near London, with 21 people arrested and dozens requesting asylum. The passengers were released in stages. Just before dawn, the first group of 85 passengers unboarded the Boeing 727. Within the next two hours 65 more passengers were allowed to unboard. 

British police will continue to question both the hijackers and the hostages in an effort to findout the motivation for the four-day ordeal. Officials report that they have seized five knives, one set of brass knuckles, two grenades without fuses, four handguns,  and two detonators.

British police reported that there were no formal demands made during negotiations. At a news conference, chief constable David Stephens said police didn't make any promises either. "No guarantees of any sort have been given. If those of the hostages want to return to Afghanistan we will facilitate that. But if they're hijackers they will remain in Britain to face our criminal justice system." Stephens didn't rule out that more passengers may have been involved. The British home office has confirmed that at least 60 passengers and 14 of their dependents have already made asylum claims. 

The hijackers seized the plane 20 minutes into a domestic flight from the Afghan capital, Kabul to the northern community of Mazar-e-Sharif last Sunday. The plane stopped in Uzbekistan, Kazakstan, and Russia before landing in London early Monday. Just before the releases, two of the hijackers left the aircraft for a meeting with negotiators on the tarmac, deputy chief constable Joe Edwards said. The atmosphere became tense Tuesday night after four crew members escaped through a cockpit window.


The British government had chartered a plane in order to allow those passengers who want to return to their home land of Afghanistan on Friday. 

Britain's Secretary, Jack Straw, spoke before the House of Commons and stated that the government would not tolerate hijacking. The suspects will be held for prosecution.

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