Is The Taliban Holding 6 Planes Hostage? — Here’s What We Know

Written by Wes Walker on September 6, 2021

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Is the nightmare scenario of the Taliban holding American hostages already beginning to take shape?

Rep. Michael McCaul, ranking member of the House foreign affairs committee, went on Fox News on Sunday, where he made a chilling claim:

“In fact we have six airplanes at Mazar-i-Sharif airport, six airplanes, with American citizens on them as I speak, also with these interpreters, and the Taliban is holding them hostage for demands right now,” Mr. McCaul said. “State has cleared these flights and the Taliban will not let them leave the airport.”

“The Taliban wants something in exchange, this is really … turning into a hostage situation where they are not going to allow American citizens to leave until they get full recognition from the United States of America,” he said. —JustTheNews

It’s the kind of claim we would love to see debunked as merely a rumor, obviously. But so far, the Biden Administration has not been able to discredit those claims as unfounded.

McCaul said the Taliban is “holding them hostage for demands right now” without going into detail about what the Taliban was seeking. The Texas Republican said the flights had been cleared by the State Department.

When reached for comment and any other information on McCaul’s claims, a State Department spokesperson told The Hill that because it does not have personnel on the ground, air assets in the country or have any control of the airspace over Afghanistan or elsewhere in the region, they do not have “reliable means” to confirm details of any charter flights.

“Given these constraints, we also do not have a reliable means to confirm the basic details of charter flights, including who may be organizing them, the number of U.S. citizens and other priority groups on-board, the accuracy of the rest of the manifest, and where they plan to land, among many other issues,” the spokesperson told The Hill. —TheHill

The same spokesman said that the Taliban would be ‘held to its pledge’ to let people freely depart the country, without indicating what possible leverage Biden had over the Taliban to make good on that implicit threat. With neither a diplomatic, nor a military presence in the country, there is precious little leverage over the Taliban, short of a military strike.

With the Taliban holding potential human shields, even that plan isn’t without inherent risks.

Reports on the ground seem to indicate that passengers are free to leave the airport. But they’ve not yet been able to leave the country. With Voice Of America reporting Taliban going door-to-door to kill anyone with an American passport, the ‘freedom’ to go back to your house isn’t exactly comforting.

State Department bureaucracy hasn’t been helping the situation any…

Other groups trying to organize their own chartered flights have also hit out at the State Department, with Rick Clay from private rescue firm PlanB claiming the organization is the only thing stopping him fulfilling his brief.

Two other organizers have also torn into the Anthony Blinken-headed department, with one – who didn’t give their name – telling Fox: ‘This is zero place to be negotiating with American lives. Those are our people standing on the tarmac and all it takes is a f****ing phone call.

…’If one life is lost as a result of this, the blood is on the White House’s hands. The blood is on their hands. It is not the Taliban that is holding this up – as much as it sickens me to say that – it is the United States government.’

One of those organizers also claimed that any rescue charter flights wishing to land at Al Udeid Air Base in Doha, Qatar, must first seek State Department approval, leaving them with a further bureaucratic delay.

The New York Times reported that a total of 1,000 people – including dozens of American citizens – had been held at the city’s airport for five days.

Other passengers hoping to fly include Afghans who hold visas to move to other countries, including the United States. –DailyMail

Is Biden poised to make Carter’s colossal failures look Jayvee in comparison?