New Taliban chief Mullah Akhtar Muhammad Mansour oversaw IC-814 ops at Kandahar

Mansour handled the hijacking along with its foreign minister, Wakil Ahmad Muttawakil, and Kandahar corps commander Akhtar Muhammad Usmani.

Written by Praveen Swami | New Delhi | Published: August 2, 2015 4:08 am
Taliban, new Taliban leader, Kandahar hijack, IC814 hijack, Mullah Akhtar Muhammad Mansoor, Taliban chief, World news Mansour’s appointment as Taliban chief is expected to give momentum to a Pakistan-brokered deal between the Islamist insurgent group and the Afghan government.

Mullah Akhtar Muhammad Mansour, the newly-appointed chief of the Afghan Taliban, may have played a key role in the 1999 hijacking of Indian Airlines flight IC-814, officials involved with the case have told The Sunday Express.

Mansour, as the Taliban civil aviation minister, handled the hijacking 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 ISI station in Kandahar in supplying explosives and assault rifles which the hijackers received while the aircraft was parked on the tarmac.

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“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 C D 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 CBI was allowed to question Muttawakil who had surrendered to the US. Earlier that year, Mulinja Narayanan, the CBI officer in the case, said 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 IC-814 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 Mansour’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.

Mansour’s appointment as Taliban chief is expected to give momentum to a Pakistan-brokered deal between the Islamist insurgent group and the Afghan government.

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  1. B
    BharatK
    Aug 2, 2015 at 3:15 pm
    Indian sikulars have now new leader. Sikular medias in INdia now have another great sikular JIhadi to glorify and promote.
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      Rakesh
      Aug 3, 2015 at 7:30 am
      Handling of airline hijack is a black mark against the then BJP who used to rant and rave against Pak. Modi should now authorize RAW to kidnap or kill those responsible for the hijack. ISI budget is probably 1/10th of what we spend on RAW. Now is the time for action.
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      1. S
        Shafted mohammed
        Aug 2, 2015 at 5:22 am
        ISI got their man as the chief after mullah Omer whom they successfully gaurded and hid.stan now would be dominant in Afghanistan.
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          Rufusd
          Aug 2, 2015 at 1:13 pm
          Does any one care for these mullahs? They are only going to create a diintegration or break up of countries like ours, based on language, ethnicity etc. Their gchildren will be going to American universies while the poor of those that they pretend to represent will keep wallowing in filth and ignorance. The majority of stanis are also wary of these people. The only people who are going to benefit are those emplo by the MNCs !
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          1. R
            Rufusd
            Aug 2, 2015 at 8:03 pm
            You make me sick by repeating the word 'sicular'. If you are that much of a Hindu, whether at present or historically, how many in your family are married outside your present caste?
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