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China-bound plane lands in Afghanistan after report of threat

  • Story Highlights
  • NEW: Official: No hijacking or bomb on China-bound plane
  • Chinese news agency: Plane denied permission to land in China because of threat
  • Plane returns to Afghanistan, lands safely
  • Xinjiang was scene of ethnic clashes between Han Chinese and Uyghur last month
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KABUL, Afghanistan (CNN) -- A plane that reportedly was refused permission to land in China because of a bomb threat returned to Afghanistan and landed safely in Kandahar, officials told CNN.

"There was an aircraft that made a precautionary landing in Kandahar," Brian Naranjo, spokesman for NATO's International Security Assistance Force, told CNN. "But there was no hijack and no bomb."

China's state-run news agency Xinhua initially reported the plane, which took off from Afghanistan, was hijacked, citing police sources. But Xinhua later quoted the same sources as saying the plane was denied permission to land in China's remote northwestern Xinjiang Autonomous Region because of a bomb threat.

Xinjiang was the scene of clashes last month between Han Chinese and the province's Uyghur population, a predominantly Muslim ethnic group.

After the Kam Airlines plane landed, Xinhua quoted a Kabul International Airport official as saying the plane landed in Kandahar because of a mechanical problem. However, Kam Airlines President Zamarai Kamgar told Xinhua that it was the first flight from Kabul to Urumqi, China, and that Kyrgyzstan -- which borders China -- refused to let the plane use its airspace.

Kamgar said the plane landed in Kandahar instead of Kabul because weather conditions in Kabul were unsuitable.

All About ChinaXinjiang Uighur

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