“The Taliban is basically holding them hostage to get more out of the Americans.”
The Taliban is barring possibly hundreds of Americans from boarding planes at the Mazar-i-Sharif airstrip, some 200 miles north of Kabul, news reports confirm.
A senior congressional source disclosed that the Taliban is holding these Americans “hostage” to force concessions out of the Biden administration. “The Taliban is basically holding them hostage to get more out of the Americans,” the unnamed source told CBS News.
The Biden White House refused to comment on the situation of the stranded Americans, saying that it had no “means to confirm” their plight. “Asked about charter flights, a State Department spokesperson did not address specific accusations but stressed the United States did not have personnel on the ground and so lacked a reliable means to confirm the basic details of charter flights,” the news agency Reuters reported on Monday.
CBS News reported the Taliban’s move to block Americans from leaving the country:
Multiple planes that are ready to take American citizens and green card holders out of the country are being denied permission to leave by the Taliban, congressional and NGO sources told CBS News.
Excerpts of an email from the State Department to members of congress viewed by CBS News acknowledged that charter flights are still on the ground at the Mazar-i-Sharif airstrip in northern Afghanistan and have permission to land in Doha “if and when the Taliban agrees to takeoff.”
“The Taliban is basically holding them hostage to get more out of the Americans,” a senior congressional source told CBS News.
The group Ascend, an NGO that teaches young women leadership through athletics, told CBS News they have two planes that have been waiting for six days ready to take between 600 and 1200 people — including 19 American citizens and two permanent residents.
CBS News has not been able to corroborate those numbers, but three other sources confirmed there are Americans in the area waiting to evacuate through charter flights.
The planes are not currently loaded. The passengers are being held nearby, because the Taliban won’t let them into the airport, according to a senior congressional source.
The news comes as White House press secretary Jen Psaki denied that Americans were “stranded” in Taliban-held Afghanistan. “It’s irresponsible to say Americans are stranded. They are not,” she told reporters at a press briefing recently.
While stranded Americans at the mercy of the Taliban, President Biden declared his Afghanistan evacuation an “extraordinary success.” Thirteen U.S. soldiers assisting the airlift were killed in an Islamist suicide bombing outside the Kabul airport.
Despite the reports of Americans still stranded in the country, the Biden administration ended the evacuation ahead of the self-imposed August 31.
With hundreds of Americans held against their will by the Taliban, President Biden is breaking his promise to get all Americans out of the country. “Any American who wants to come home, we will get you home” he pledged on August 20.DONATE
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