UpdateAmerican veterans, who all served in Afghanistan, have rescued Afghans in a secret self-propelled operation in Kabul overnight who would be in grave danger from Taliban control. ABC News spoke with members of the volunteer group. They described it as a “final rescue”.
The veterans were not officially part of the US armed forces in Kabul, and so were making their way through the dark Afghan capital at their own risk. However, they worked in coordination with the US military and the embassy in Kabul.
The group called Operation Pineapple Express. It is not yet clear if this name comes from the 2008 action comedy of the same name. The group members call themselves “Task Force Pineapple”.
The initiator and commander of the entire operation was the retired “Green Berets”, Colonel Scott Mann, former commander of the US Army.
They say they took people in small units, always in small groups, to the US-controlled Kabul airport. The final rescue missions overnight from Wednesday to Thursday will involve at least 500 people, including former members of the Afghan Armed Forces special units and their families. However, more than 130 people have already been transferred to the airport by these volunteers on Wednesday.
The private rescue operation began after Colonel Mann received desperate messages in mid-August, shortly after the Taliban seized Kabul from a former Afghan commando he fought with and is still waiting for a special US visa. Afghani was part of an American command team that has been hunting Taliban leaders for years, and the Taliban knows it. So they threatened to kill him. Man decided to try to smuggle him out of the country. ABC reported that he eventually became hundreds with the “Pineapple Express.”
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