At least two Republican lawmakers have said that the Taliban are holding Americans “hostage” aboard at least a half-dozen aircraft at an airport in Mazar-i-Sharif and refuse to allow them to leave until they get something in return such as cash, recognition, or both.
Rep. Michael McCaul of Texas told “Fox News Sunday” host Chris Wallace that no Americans have been allowed to leave Afghanistan since all U.S. forces pulled out of the country last week.
He went on to say that the State Department is aware of at least six planes that are currently filled with Americans and some of their Afghani allies, but that the Taliban won’t allow them to leave because they are want something for them.
“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,” McCaul, the lead Republican on the House Foreign Affairs Committee, said.
“State has cleared these flights, and the Taliban will not let them leave the airport,” he continued.
Wallace pressed on, leading McCaul to say that the development is “turning into a hostage situation.”
“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 added.
“We know the reason why is because the Taliban want something in exchange,” he continued.
“This is really, Chris, turning into a hostage situation where they’re not gonna allow American citizens to leave until they get full recognition from the United States of America,” he went on.
Friday during an interview with Newsmax TV, McCaul’s Texas colleague, Rep. Ronny Jackson, the former White House physician, said essentially the same thing — the Taliban were holding Americans currently blocked from leaving on flights.
“They’ve already been manifested on flights,” he told “Greg Kelly Reports,” adding that the Taliban really want to be recognized by the Biden administration as the legitimate government now of Afghanistan, which would be a major public relations coup.
“The airplanes are there. Everything is ready to go. They can’t get out, and the reason they can’t get out is that the Taliban won’t release the flight until Sept. 9 because they want to be recognized as an official government,” Jackson said.
“They want to be officially recognized as a legitimate government,” he 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,” Jackson went on.
The retired White House doctor also went on to rip the Biden administration for pulling out of Afghanistan without taking all Americans and the U.S. allies out of the country first.
“This is not going to be the first nor the last lie that we’ve heard from the Biden administration,” Jackson said.
“This entire thing is just a web of lies. We’re working today. We still, both of us, we still have people over there,” he noted, adding that constituents of his are also “trapped.”
“I have American citizens, citizens, at least seven of them, probably more from my district right now, that are trapped over there right now,” he said.
”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 is [in] pretty big danger,” he added.
Syndicated with permission from USA Features News.