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Indian Airlines Flight 814 commonly known as IC 814 was an Indian Airlines Airbus A300 en route from Tribhuvan International Airport in Kathmandu, Nepal to Indira Gandhi International Airport in Delhi, India on Friday, 24 December 1999, when it was hijacked. Harkat-ul-Mujahideen, a Pakistan-based Islamic extremist group, was accused of the hijacking.

The aircraft was hijacked by gunmen shortly after it entered Indian airspace at about 17:30 IST. Hijackers ordered the aircraft to be flown to several locations. After touching down in Amritsar, Lahore and Dubai, the hijackers finally forced the aircraft to land in Kandahar, Afghanistan, which at the time was controlled by the Taliban. The hijackers released 27 of 176 passengers in Dubai but fatally stabbed one and wounded several others.

At that time most of Afghanistan, including Kandahar where the plane landed, was under Taliban control, who resisted allowing the plane to land there. After eventually granting the plane landing rights, the Taliban still pressured the hijackers to release the hostages and give up on some of their demands. Taliban fighters surrounded the aircraft to prevent any Indian military intervention.

The motive for the hijacking appears to have been to secure the release of Islamist figures held in prison in India. The hostage crisis lasted for seven days and ended after India agreed to release three militants – Mushtaq Ahmed Zargar, Ahmed Omar Saeed Sheikh and Maulana Masood Azhar. These militants have since been implicated in other terrorist actions, such as 9/11, the kidnap and murder of Daniel Pearl and Mumbai terror attacks.


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