In a new book by former India bureau chief for Reuters Myra MacDonald, titled 'Defeat is an Orphan: How Pakistan lost the Great South Asian War’, Ajit Doval has revealed that the five men who hijacked Indian Airlines flight IC-841 were sponsored by Pakistan’s infamous intelligence agency, ISI. Doval was a part of the negotiating team that went to Kandahar to broker a deal for the release of the passengers.
On 24 December 1999, five hijacker on-board IC-814, flying from Kathmandu to New Delhi, hijacked the flight soon after takeoff. The flight, with 180 passengers and crew, was taken to Amritsar, Lahore, Dubai and finally landed in Kandahar. Back the, the Taliban controlled most parts of Afghanistan. This made it easier for Pakistan’s intelligence agencies to operate.
"We were getting very good intelligence about all that was happening," Doval has told MacDonald. With support from outside, the hijackers were far less susceptible to being worn down by negotiations, Macdonald writes in her book."If these people were not getting active ISI support in Kandahar, we could have got the hijacking vacated," Doval has said.
"The ISI had removed all the pressure we were trying to put on the hijackers. Even their safe exit was guaranteed, so they had no need to negotiate an escape route. Normally that is not the way hijackers talk. Normally the biggest fear is how to get out," he has told the author.
The crisis ended on 31 December 1999 after India released Maulana Masood Azhar, Ahmed Omar Saeed Sheikh and Mushtaq Zargar.
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