New Taliban chief played role in IC814 hijack

New Taliban chief played role in IC814 hijack

the indian express

 

The new Taliban chief, Indian intelligence officials believe, holds information on the role of the Inter-Services Intelligence station in Kandahar in supplying explosives and assault rifles which the hijackers came into possession of while the aircraft was parked on the tarmac.

Written by Praveen Swami | New Delhi

Mullah Akhtar Muhammad Mansoor, the newly-appointed chief of the Afghan Taliban, may have played a key role in the 1999 hijacking of Indian Airlines flight 814, officials involved with the case have told The Indian Express. Mansoor, as the  Taliban’s Civil Aviation Minister, handled the 1999 hijacking of IC-814  along with its Foreign Minister, Wakil Ahmad Muttawakil, and Kandahar corps commander Akhtar Muhammad Usmani.

The new Taliban chief, Indian intelligence officials believe, holds information on the role of the Inter-Services Intelligence station in Kandahar in supplying explosives and assault rifles which the hijackers came into possession of while the aircraft was parked on the tarmac.

“The hijackers took pistols on board the flight inside a sweet box they smuggled through security in Kathmandu,” recalled former Research and Analysis Wing chief CD Sahai. “But in Kandahar, we found they had automatic weapons, and had rigged the aircraft with explosives. It stands to reason that someone there provided them with these things after the plane landed,” he said.

Following the fall of the Taliban, the Central Bureau of Investigations was allowed to question Muttawakil, who had surrendered to the US. Mulinja Narayanan, the CBI officer in the case, told this newspaper earlier that year that Muttawakil “was not forthcoming”. “He flatly denied he had any knowledge of what had transpired, and blamed everything on the others in the Taliban,” he said.

Former Kandahar corps commander Usmani, who the CBI also hoped to question, was killed in a 2006 airstrike targeting Taliban forces in Helmand province.

“The Indian government should press for action against all three individuals in the Taliban leadership who played a role in the IC814 hijacking”, said Vivek Katju, a former Indian diplomat who negotiated with the hijackers and the so-called Islamic Emirate at Kandahar.

Little is known of Mansoor’s background, other than that he was born in the Kandahar region in 1960. He was appointed to the Taliban’s supreme political and military council in Quetta in 2007, exercising direct influence over field units in Khost, Paktia and Paktika, Afghanistan. Afghan intelligence officials allege he played a key role in running narcotics to fund the Taliban.

Mullah Muhammad Omar, the Taliban’s supreme chief, picked him as his successor in February, 2010, in place of Mullah Abdul Gani Baradar—a key Taliban leader who was arrested in Karachi by Pakistan’s ISI, and has not been seen in public since. In 2013, the ISI later brokered meetings between former President Hamid Karzai’s representatives and Baradar—but resiled on a promise to return him to Afghanistan.

Mansoor’s appointment as Taliban chief is expected to give momentum to a Pakistan-brokered deal between the Islamist insurgent group and the Afghan government, leading to a ceasefire, and a power-sharing deal underwritten by Pakistan and China. The new chief is known to have held multiple meetings, since February, with Afghan, Pakistani and Chinese officials.

However, Zakir Qayyum—the anti-dialogue Taliban military commander replaced by Mansoor—is among several hardliners who intelligence officials say could challenge the new leaders’ authority.  Mullah Omar’s 26 year old son, Yakub Omar, could emerge as a figurehead for the dissidents.

The dissident groupings include the al-Fath Mahaz, the Tora Bora Mahaz, and the Fidayano Mahaz—the last led by the brother of top Taliban commander Mullah Dadullah Akhund.  The Tora Bora front, similarly, is led by the son of Yunus Khalis, the Islamist warlord who first welcomed Osama bin Laden to Afghanistan. The al-Fath, again, is run by affiliates of former warlord Gulbuddin Hekmatyar.

One thought on “New Taliban chief played role in IC814 hijack

  1. Reblogged this on The Stoker's Blog and commented:
    Bin Ladens and tunnels and falling airplanes and North Korea. Who’d’a thunkit? The long way round into Tehran is through Korean concrete pouring.

    The grooming of Yemen/Syrian nuke hits, read MOAB special effects, is to make sure no one knows what a real time reversed strike looks like when they perceive it.

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