China Says Separatists Threatened Afghan Flight
The Global Times said authorities in Xinjiang received a report Sunday that a Kam Air flight that evening to Urumqi, the regional capital, could “possibly be threatened” by a group or groups seeking independence for the region, known as East Turkestan by the separatists.
Following takeoff, separate officials in Urumqi received further information claiming a bomb was on board, prompting them to refuse permission for it to land, the newspaper said, citing an unidentified regional official.
The flight — the private airline’s first on its new route from Kabul to Urumqi — was diverted to Kandahar in southern Afghanistan. Afghanistan’s counterterrorism chief, Abdul Manan Farahi, said there was no bomb on the plane.
Chinese authorities have provided no further details about the nature of the alleged threat, and civil and police authorities refused to comment on the incident.
Yet the story is still not clear. An article in today’s China Daily says the whole thing might have been a hoax:
Kam Air president Zamarai Kamgar, who was on the aircraft, told China Daily the entire incident “might have been a hoax”. The airline’s competitors might have been behind it, he said.
“I’m very confident about the Chinese market,” Kamgar said, stressing that from the first week of September onwards, Kam Air will be flying Tuesdays from Kabul to Urumqi as well. Now the flight is only on Sundays.