Rep. Michael McCaul claims that the Taliban is holding six airplanes carrying Americans and Afghan allies “hostage” at an airport in Afghanistan, demanding recognition by the U.S. and no doubt big ransom money for their return.
McCaul, the ranking Republican on the House Foreign Affairs Committee, said on “Fox News Sunday” that the flights have been cleared by the US State Department to depart but “the Taliban will not let them leave the airport.”
“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,” the Texas congressman told host Chris Wallace.
Wallace questioned McCaul on what demands the Taliban are making before allowing the flights to leave. “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,” he said.
“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,” he continued.
McCaul said “hundreds of American citizens” are still waiting to be evacuated from Afghanistan since the US completed its military pullout on Aug. 31, bringing an end to the 20-year-old war.
“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 airport at HKI to get out,” he said, referring to Hamid Karzai International Airport in Kabul.