Texas Republican Congressman Michael McCaul, the ranking member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee told “Fox News Sunday” the condition in Afghanistan can best be described as a hostage situation.
“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” said McCaul. “State has cleared these flights, and the Taliban will not let them leave the airport.”
CBS News correspondent Christina Ruffini reported on the same flights being held on the ground by the Taliban, saying they “have permission to land in Doha ‘if and when the Taliban agrees to takeoff.”
An email from the State Department to members of congress — and viewed by CBS — acknowledged that charter flights are still on the ground at the Mazar-i-Sharif airstrip and have permission to land in Doha "if and when the Taliban agrees to takeoff. 2/
— Ruffini (@EenaRuffini) September 5, 2021
McCaul told Fox News host Chris Wallace this is “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.” McCaul fears Biden will grant the Taliban the legitimacy and recognition as an official government of Afghanistan that they are demanding.
In response to the hostage reports, a State Department spokesman said the following to The Blaze: “We understand the concern that many people are feeling as they try to facilitate further charter and other passage out of Afghanistan. However, we do not have personnel on the ground, we do not have air assets in the country, we do not control the airspace – whether over Afghanistan or elsewhere in the region.”
The State Department added they will continue to “hold the Taliban to its pledge to let people freely depart Afghanistan” which The Blaze notes completely contradicts the administration’s messages. In late August, Marine Corps Gen. Kenneth McKenzie acknowledged, “we did not get out everybody we wanted to get out…our Department of State is going to work very hard to allow any American citizens that are left.”