Biden administration negotiated with Taliban to escort Americans to airport: report
Two defense officials told CNN that the U.S. military had a secret agreement with the Taliban to have Americans escorted to the Hamid Karzai International Airport as they sought escape from the country amid the military’s evacuation efforts.
CNN reported that U.S. special operations groups set up a “secret gate” at the Kabul airport as well as “call centers” to help Americans with the evacuation process.
Americans were instructed to gather at “muster points” near the airport where the Taliban collected them, checked their credentials and took them to the aforementioned gate.
One of the officials told CNN that these secret evacuation missions took place “several times a day.”
“It worked, it worked beautifully,” one official added on the agreement.
The Department of Defense declined to comment to The Hill on the report.
The last U.S. military plane departed from Afghanistan just before midnight Tuesday local time, officially marking the end of the longest war in U.S. history.
“I’m here to announce the completion of our withdrawal from Afghanistan and the end of the mission to evacuate American citizens, third-country nationals and vulnerable Afghans,” Marine Corps Gen. Frank McKenzie said on Tuesday. “Every single U.S. service member is now out of Afghanistan.”
Though the U.S. military presence in Afghanistan ended, McKenzie said diplomatic evacuation missions for Americans and vulnerable Afghans would continue.
“I want to emphasize again that simply because we have left that doesn’t mean the opportunities for both Americans that are in Afghanistan who want to leave and Afghans who want to leave. They will not be denied that opportunity,” he said.
As CNN noted in its report, McKenzie mentioned the involvement of special operation forces in evacuating Americans earlier this week.
Speaking at a press conference, McKenzie said these forces “reached out to help bring in more than 1,064 American citizens and 2,017 [special immigrant visa holders] or Afghans at risk, and 127 third-country nationals all via phone calls, vectors, and escorting.”