The U.S. military reportedly worked out a deal with the Taliban to help escort Americans to the gates of the airport in Kabul, Afghanistan.
CNN first reported on the arrangement. According to a defense official, U.S. special operations forces established a “secret gate” at the airport and formed “call centers” to help Americans with the process of evacuating.
The officials also said Americans were told to congregate at “muster points” near the airport where the Taliban would take them, verify their credentials and bring them to the appropriate gate.
The missions happened “several times a day,” as CNN reported. One official said, “It worked, it worked beautifully.”
Commander of U.S. Central Command, General Kenneth McKenzie, confirmed the troop withdrawal was completed on Monday.
“There’s a lot of heartbreak associated with this departure. We did not get everybody out that we wanted to get out,” McKenzie said.
More than 122,000 individuals, including 6,000 U.S. citizens were evacuated.
Pentagon Press Secretary John Kirby told CNN Tuesday there is concern “obviously, over the ones that we couldn’t get out that time and space and the security threat simply wouldn’t allow us to reach.”
Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin released a statement Monday reminding Americans to “remember the citizens whom we serve and the nation that we defend.”
He added, “For my part, I am proud of the part that we played in this war. I am proud of the men and women who led me. I am proud of those with whom I served and led. And I am proud of the intrepid, resilient families who made what we did possible.”
The Taliban declared victory following the withdrawal Tuesday, as IJR reported. Hekmatullah Wasiq, a top Taliban official, told The Associated Press, “Slowly we will get everything back to normal. It will take time.”
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