Iran, Ukraine trash reports of plane hijack from Kabul

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Kabul: Government authorities in Iran and Ukraine have dispelled reports that an Ukrainian flight that had arrived in Kabul for evacuation of stranded nationals was hijacked.  

Iran's Civil Aviation Authority stated the Ukrainian plane refuelled in Mashhad and then flew to Kiev. An Ukrainian foreign ministry spokesperson too denied the 'hijack' reports. 

"There are no captured Ukrainian planes in Kabul or elsewhere. The information about the 'captured plane' that is being circulated by some media outlets is not true," the spokesperson stated. 

Earlier it was widely reported an Ukrainian plane that came to Afghanistan to evacuate its citizens was hijacked by unidentified people from the Kabul International Airport,. The plane was reportedly diverted to Iran.

Quoting, Ukraine’s Deputy Foreign Minister Yevgeny Yenin, Russian News Agency TASS reported that the plane was stolen  on Sunday by armed hijackers.

"Last Sunday, our plane was hijacked by other people. On Tuesday, the plane was practically stolen from us, it flew into Iran with an unidentified group of passengers onboard instead of airlifting Ukrainians. Our next three evacuation attempts were also not successful because our people could not get into the airport," Yevgeny Yenin was quoted as saying by TASS.

On Sunday, another military transport plane with 83 people onboard, including 31 Ukrainians, had arrived from Afghanistan to Kiev.

Western countries have been working at a "war-footing pace" to get people out of Afghanistan following widespread chaos punctuated by sporadic violence has gripped Kabul's airport, with Western troops and Afghan security guards driving back crowds desperate to flee following the Taliban's take over of the Afghan capital on August 15.

The Taliban seized power last week as the United States and its allies withdrew troops after the war launched after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks.

Panicked Afghans and foreigners have thronged the airport since, clamoring to catch any flight out. Many fear reprisals and a return to a harsh version of Islamic law the Taliban enforced while in power from 1996 to 2001.

(With inputs from Reuters)

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