US military veterans, all of whom have served in Afghanistan, have rescued Afghans in a self-run covert operation who would be in grave danger from the Taliban takeover. News channel ABC spoke with members of the volunteer group. They described it as an ‘ultimate rescue operation’.
The veterans were not officially part of the US military force in Kabul and so were on their way through the pitch-dark Afghan capital at their own risk. They did act in coordination with the US military and the embassy in Kabul. The secret actions also involved former members of the secret service and aid workers in Afghanistan.
The group has the operation ‘Pineapple Express‘ (Pineapple Express) and calls itself the ‘Task Force Pineapple’‘. The initiator and commander of the entire operation was a retired “Green Beret,” Colonel Scott Mann, a former US Army Commander.
Five hundred people
The veterans say they brought the Afghans with small units to the airport in Kabul. Sometimes they took only one person at a time, sometimes pairs, rarely more than a small group. The troops are said to have ushered at least 500 people into the airport, including former members of special forces from the Afghan armed forces and their families. That number is in addition to the more than 130 people who were previously diverted to the airport by these volunteers.
The private rescue has begun after Colonel Mann received desperate messages shortly after the capture of Kabul from a former Afghan commando whom he had fought with and who was still awaiting a special visa to enter the US. The Afghan had been part of an American command team that had been hunting Taliban leaders for years and the Taliban know that. So they threatened to kill him. Mann decided to try and smuggle him out of the country. It eventually became hundreds with the ‘Pineapple Express’, ABC reported.
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