GOP lawmakers: Americans, allies being held hostage on planes Taliban won’t let depart

Two Republican lawmakers say that the Taliban are holding Americans and their Afghan allies hostage by not allowing their planes to depart Afghanistan because they are looking for something in exchange from the Biden administration, such as recognition of their legitimacy as the new rulers of the country.

During an appearance on “Fox News Sunday,” Rep. Michael McFaul (R-Texas), the top Republican on the House Foreign Affairs Committee, responded to a question from anchor Chris Wallace as to how many Americans and allies have gotten out of Afghanistan since all U.S. forces pulled out of the country last week.

After noting that he’s been given details about ongoing operations to evacuate Americans “in the classified space,” McFaul noted that he knows of “hundreds” of Americans and allies who remain “behind enemy lines” in Afghanistan and that “zero” have gotten out.

The Texas Republican then said that there are “six airplanes” at Mazar-i-Sharif, an Afghan city, “with American citizens on them, as I speak,” along with many interpreters who worked with Americans, “and the Taliban is holding them hostage for demands right now.”

McCaul added that the fear was the Taliban will continue to make demands including “cash or legitimacy.”

 

“Let me pick up on this, because I didn’t know this. You’re saying that there are Americans on airplanes ready to fly out of Afghanistan right now and they’re not being allowed out because the Taliban is making demands? What demands are the Taliban making?” Wallace responded.

“They are not clearing the airplanes to depart,” McCaul replied. “They’ve sat at the airport for the last couple of days, these planes, and they are not allowed to leave. We know the reason why is because the Taliban want something in exchange.”

McCaul is the second Republican lawmaker to make that claim.

On Friday, Rep. Ronny Jackson, a Texas colleague of McCaul’s, told Newsmax TV that at least seven of the Americans currently being held by the Taliban are from his district.

 

‘They’ve already been manifested on flights,” Jackson, a Republican, said on ”Greg Kelly Reports.” ”The airplanes are there. Everything is ready to go.

“They can’t get out, and the reason they can’t get out is because the Taliban won’t release the flight until Sept. 9 because they want to be recognized as an official government,” he added.

“They want to be officially recognized as a legitimate government,” Jackson continued.

“And I guarantee you these hostages, they’re hostages right now, are being held until the American, until the United States, until the Biden administration recognizes the Taliban as a government,” he said before going on to predict that the White House will, in fact, grant that recognition in order to get Americans home.

He went on to blast President Joe Biden for leaving Americans and Afghan allies in Afghanistan in the first place after promising to get them all out before evacuating all U.S. forces.

”This is not going to be the first nor the last lie that we’ve heard from the Biden administration,” Jackson noted. ”This entire thing is just a web of lies. We’re working today. We still, both of us, we still have people over there. I have American citizens, citizens, at least seven of them, probably more from my district right now, that are trapped over there right now.

”They cannot get out. And you know what we were told? We were told today, I was told, that the State Department has some of them, and I won’t say where, that are [in] pretty big danger,” he said.

Jon Dougherty

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