American veterans, all of whom served in Afghanistan, rescued Afghans in a covert, self-managed late-night operation in Kabul, 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”.
GVSource: Belgium, ABC
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 covert work also involved former members of the secret intelligence and aid workers in Afghanistan.
The group has christened Operation Pineapple Express and calls itself the “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 special forces of the Afghan armed forces and their families. However, more than 130 people have already been transferred to the airport by these volunteers on Wednesday.
The special rescue operation began after Colonel Mann received desperate messages in mid-August, shortly after the Taliban captured Kabul, from a former Afghan commando he had fought and was still waiting for a special US visa. Afghani was part of the US leadership team that for years hunted down Taliban leaders and the Taliban knew it. So they threatened to kill him. Man decided to try to smuggle him out of the country. In the end, hundreds of people were smuggled out of Afghanistan via the “Pineapple Express,” ABC reported.