A hostage situation is brewing in Afghanistan as the Taliban refuses to allow planes filled with Americans and Afghan allies to leave the country, according to a Republican congressman.
Texas Rep. Mike McCaul made the revelation during an appearance on Fox News on Sunday.
“We have six airplanes at Mazar 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. The state has cleared these flights and the Taliban will not let them leave the airport,” he said.
“They’ve sat at the airport for the last couple of days, these planes, and they’re not allowed to leave. We know the reason why is because the Taliban want something in exchange,” said McCaul, the ranking Republican on the House Foreign Affairs Committee.
“This is really … turning into a hostage situation where they’re not going to allow American citizens to leave until they get full recognition from the United States of America.”
McCaul’s worry is that the Taliban will get it.
“My concern is that [Zalmay] Khalilzad, our special envoy who’s met with the Taliban — they’re in talks right now, and I worry his recommendation to the administration will be to recognize the Taliban,” he said.
McCaul said there are “hundreds of American citizens left behind enemy lines in Afghanistan as I speak. And also, very sadly, the interpreters who worked with our special forces, almost all of them were left behind and were not let in the gates at the airport at [Hamid Karzai International] to get out.
“And that was a promise that the president made. I’ve said all along this president has blood on his hands. And this week, this last week, we had 13 servicemen and women come home, flag-draped coffins at Dover Airbase. This problem’s going to get worse, not better, and we have left them behind. That’s the basic creed of the military,” he said.
A week has passed since our nation lost 13 service members in a deadly terror attack outside the Kabul airport. They placed themselves in harms way to help Americans and Afghan partners escape the Taliban. May we never forget their sacrifice and service to our country. pic.twitter.com/m8L3iY93xZ
— Michael McCaul (@RepMcCaul) September 2, 2021
McCaul further stated that no Americans and no Afghan allies have left the country since the final U.S. troops departed on Monday.
“You have stories of interpreters being taken home to their families and watching, you know, their wives and families being beheaded, executed before they execute the interpreter.
“This is not a new and improved Taliban. This is the same old Taliban. They’re reverting back to the same brutal practices,” he said.
I don’t blame the intelligence community. I don’t blame the military. They did their jobs. I blame @StateDept, and I blame @POTUS for the crisis in Afghanistan. Biden ignored intel that told him Afghanistan would fall quickly. He is to blame. pic.twitter.com/ghqDXSCrHp
— Michael McCaul (@RepMcCaul) September 1, 2021
McCaul blamed the Biden administration for the crisis.
“Because this administration ignored the warnings of the intelligence community assessments, overrode the top generals, we find ourselves in this very precarious, dangerous situation where the Taliban is now dictating terms to us, where they are dictating the terms of our exit strategy, dictating whether Americans can leave are not.”
McCaul added that with the loss of intelligence-gathering capabilities in Afghanistan, “we’re going back to pre-9/11 right now, but it’s worse. It’s worse because now they’re fully armed with our weapons, our helicopters and pallets of our cash.”