New Delhi, Jan 16: Had the ISI not meddled, then India could have solved the Kandahar hijack issue on its own. Ajit Doval says that India could have solved the predicament if the hijackers were not aided by the ISI. These statements appear in a new book by Myra Macdonald, 'Defeat is an Orphan: How Pakistan lost the Great South Asian War.
Macdonald was the former India Bureau chief for Reuters. Doval who is today National Security Advisor, was part of the negotiating team after the Kathmandu-Delhi flight was hijacked by five people on December 24, 1999.
The hijackers had demanded the release of terrorists Maulana Masood Azhar, Ahmed Omar Saeed Sheikh and Mushtaq Zargar. They were released to defuse the situation.
Quoting Doval, the book says that when they landed in Kandahar, Afghanistan, they learnt that two ISI men, a Lieutenant Colonel and a major, were there along with Taliban on the tarmac. The situation worsened as the hijackers were directly communicating with the ISI men, Doval says. "We were getting very good intelligence about all that was happening. If these people were not getting active ISI support in Kandahar, we could have got the hijacking vacated," Doval further states.
He further adds that the ISI had eliminated all the pressure on the hijackers. They even got a safe exit. "Even their safe exit was guaranteed, so they had no need to negotiate an escape route. That is not the way hijackers talk. Normally the biggest fear is how to get out," Doval also says.