Congressman: Taliban holding Americans ‘hostage’ by preventing flight departures

Some of the worst predictions made in the midst of the Biden administration’s hasty troop withdrawal from Afghanistan appear to be coming true, as Rep. Michael McCaul (R-TX) now says that the Taliban are preventing aircraft carrying Americans from departing the country, in effect creating a hostage-like situation, as the Washington Examiner notes.

According to McCaul, there have been no Americans able to make their way out of Afghanistan since that last of the U.S. troops left on Aug. 31, and the reason for that is the Taliban’s simple refusal to allow their flights to depart.

The congressman described the situation in detail during an appearance on Fox News Sunday, saying that “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.”

Program host Chris Wallace pressed the lawmaker for additional information on what the Taliban might be demanding in exchange for the planes’ release, and McCaul replied, “Well, they are not clearing airplanes to depart. They’ve sat at the airport for the last couple days, these planes, and they’re not allowed to leave.”

McCaul continued, “We know the reason why is because the Taliban want something in exchange. This is really, Chris, 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.”

According to the New York Post, the State Department has updated members of Congress on the situation, telling them that charter planes set to bring American citizens and other approved individuals to Qatar are being halted on the ground at the aforementioned airport by Taliban forces.

One congressional source provided information to Ascend, a non-governmental organization involved with providing leadership education to women that has affiliated individuals still on the ground in Afghanistan, saying that “The Taliban is basically holding them hostage to get more out of the Americans.

While White House Chief of Staff Ron Klain has asserted that the number of Americans remaining in Afghanistan is roughly 100, McCaul says that the number totals several hundred individuals, with none able to leave since the last of the U.S. troops departed for good.

“I’ve been given the answer in the classified space but it’s in the hundreds. We have 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 [Hamid Karzai International Airport] to get out,” McCaul said, driving home the true scope of the unfolding tragedy.