A volunteer group of American veterans launched a final mission on Wednesday night, dubbed “Pineapple Express,” to reportedly help hundreds of members of Afghan elite forces and their families reach safety.
The group, dubbed Task Force Pineapple, operated in darkness to help those at risk.
“As of Thursday morning, the group said it had brought as many as 500 Afghan special operators, assets and enablers and their families into the airport in Kabul overnight, handing them each over to the protective custody of the U.S. military,” ABC News reported.
“That number added to more than 130 others over the past 10 days who had been smuggled into the airport encircled by Taliban fighters since the capital fell to the extremists on Aug. 16 by Task Force Pineapple, an ad hoc groups of current and former U.S. special operators, aid workers, intelligence officers and others with experience in Afghanistan who banded together to save as many Afghan allies as they could.”
The group was led by Army Lt. Col. Scott Mann, who leads an organization called Rooftop Leadership. Mann is a retired Green Beret commander.
“We made a commitment to get them out and this is our chance to do the right thing. And I’m telling you if we don’t, Brianna, it’s going to haunt us for a very, very long time,” Mann said during a CNN interview on Monday.
— Scott Mann (@RooftopLeader) August 23, 2021
A GoFundMe page offered supporters an opportunity to donate to the group’s expenses.
Saving Heroes https://t.co/HmybjszkAe.
This is a non profit supporting the baller Americans running the Pineapple Express mission to get allies out. @RooftopLeader
— Tim Miller (@Timodc) August 27, 2021
A video from Mann also explained the purpose behind the group’s effort.
The news comes as more than 100 people were killed in Kabul on Thursday. A total of 13 U.S. military personnel were killed, with more injured.
“Of the 12,500 evacuees, roughly 8,500 of them were on 35 U.S. military flights out of Kabul, which included 29 C-17 planes and six C-130 planes. Another 4,000 people were carried on 54 coalition flights out of Kabul,” The Hill reported.
“White House officials said that since Aug. 14, the U.S. has evacuated and facilitated the evacuation of about 105,000 people out of Afghanistan.
“Since the end of July, approximately 110,600 people have been relocated.”
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