Taliban HELPED escort stranded Americans to Kabul airport through a ‘secret gate’ and by communicating through ‘call centers’
New details emerged Tuesday on the extent of cooperation between US Military members and Taliban officials during the push to get Americans to the Kabul airport before an evacuation deadline.
Those efforts involved coordination with the Taliban both in advance and throughout efforts to gather groups of Americans to get them through guarded checkpoints.
The efforts took place during a period where where wit Huis and military officials acknowledged channels of communication with the Taliban – and offered measured statements vouching for the assistance provided by the Taliban in getting Americans out.
Americans jointed at ‘muster points’ where members of the Taliban would check their credentials and escort them to a gate manned by U.S. forces to allow them into the packed airport, CNN reported Tuesday.
Afsonderlik, Amerikaanse. Special Operations forces were able to guide people into a ‘secret gate’ at the airport in order to speed access, amid throngs of Afghans who surrounded the facility in an effort to try to gain passage out of the country. They established special ‘call centers’ to oversee the high-risk operations, officials told the network.
In this handout image courtesy of the US Marine Corps, Families begin to board a US Air Force Boeing C-17 Globemaster III during an evacuation at Hamid Karzai International Airport, Aanvaar, Afghanistan, Augustus 23, 2021. Members of the military coordinated with the Taliban to get Americans through Taliban checkpoints
The special operators guided Americans, telling them precisely where to walk to get where they needed to be – presumably relying on technology that was not revealed in the report.
Although the precise details of the efforts were not revealed, the special forces set up call centers to coordinate with Americans.
The efforts to bring in Americans took place several times a day, with groups sometimes gathering at an Interior Ministry building near the airport.
The extent of coordination between the military and its longtime adversaries came to light as the administration fielded questions on 100-200 Americans left behind who want to leave the country.
A defiant President Joe Biden explained his decision to withdraw troops, after a chaotic evacuation that left up to 200 Americans behind who want to leave Afghanistan
Members of Taliban forces keep watch at a check point in Kabul, Afghanistan in Augustus 17, 2021. Americans gathered at specific ‘muster points’
Aanvaar, Afghanistan. 21st Aug, 2021. 'N Amerikaanse. Navy Corpsman with Special Purpose Marine Air-Ground Task Force – Crisis Response – Sentrale bevel, hands out water to children during an evacuation at Hamid Karzai International Airport, in Kaboel, Afghanistan, op Augustus 20, 2021
The White House on Tuesday said the US still maintained significant leverage over the Taliban, with billions in frozen assets, aid programs, and access to the world economy.
‘They understand the extent to which their ability to deliver anything for their citizens in the way of a functioning economy rests on the international community,’ said White House National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan.
Gen.. Frank McKenzie, who heads US Central Command, said Monday in a briefing where he described the end of the US troop commitment that special operations forces helped guide 1,000 US citizens and 2,000 Afghans. He said they did so ‘via phone calls, vectors, and escorting.’
The administration did not hide the coordination with the longtime enemy in the last days of the war, after the Taliban seized control of Kabul.
‘We are engaging with the Taliban, consulting with the Taliban, on every aspect of what’s happening in Kabul right now,” Sullivan told last Monday, which turns out to be about a week before the last US troops left.
‘On what’s happening at the airport, on how we need to ensure that there is facilitated passage to the airport for American citizens, [special immigrant visa applicants] and third-country nationals. And we’ll continue those conversations with them,’ hy het gesê.
Various administration and military officials described the contacts as productive, even after the terror attack that resulted in the deaths of 13 troepe, with the Pentagon stressing how the Taliban had a self interest in the US departure.
The evacuation took out many Afghans who assisted the coalition side in the two decade war, and handed the Taliban a functioning airport – along with a trove of military equipment worth billions.
Pentagon officials have previously described a few missions outside the airport gates to bring in Americans amid the turmoil, including a helicopter mission under the cover of darkness in Kabul.