Rep. McCaul says Taliban holding six planes filled with Americans “hostage” in Afghanistan


According to reports, Republican Rep. Michael McCaul who serves on the House Foreign Affairs Committee claimed that six planes have been sitting at the Mazar-i-Sharif international airport for the past few days are tantamount to being held “hostage” by the Taliban.

CBS News correspondent Eena Ruffini confirmed said scenario of flights being delayed from takeoff at the Mazar-i-Sharif airstrip due to the Taliban having the ultimate authority on when the flights can deport.

Rep. Michael McCaul claimed during a Fox News Sunday interview on September 5th that the Taliban have been holding flights with Americans aboard captive over the “last couple of days”:

“We’ve had 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. We have status cleared these flights and the Taliban will not let them leave the airport.”

Rep. McCaul told Fox News Sunday host Chris Wallace that he believes that the Taliban are withholding these flights as a means to have the U.S. be compelled into recognizing the Taliban as an official government body:

“This is really Chris, turning into a hostage situation where they’re not going to let American citizens leave until they get full recognition from the United States of America.”

CBS News correspondent Eena Ruffini shared the following on Twitter confirming that intel shows there are charter flights being held up abroad:

“New: CBS has learned multiple flights are being held on the ground at the Mazar-i-Sharif airport in Northern Afghanistan… by the Taliban.”

“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.”

Furthermore, Marina LeGree, the executive director of Ascend – an NGO that provides young women with “athletics-based” training courses – told Forbes that she aware of somewhere between 600 and 1200 individuals waiting outside the Mazar-i-Sharif international airport, including 19 US citizens and 2 green card holders, but that there are “probably more.”

LeGree claimed the group includes female mountaineers, NGO workers, journalists, and vulnerable women, and that the Taliban is negotiating various costs with Afghan carrier Kam Air, though she added, “For 6 days, who knows.”

LeGree added that “more people are coming, some of whom are not on the manifest but are paying a bribe to the gatekeepers. Conditions are deteriorating.”

The State Department noted when speaking to Forbes that they lack a mean to verify general details of what’s transpiring on the ground regarding these charter flights due to there being an absence of U.S. personnel actively on the ground.

This matter is actively developing. 

Please follow Law Enforcement Today as we continue to gather further insight into this fluid situation. 

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Female Afghan judge who just escaped country says released Taliban prisoners tried to hunt her down after takeover

(Originally published September 4th, 2021)

AFGHANISTAN – A female Afghan judge who managed to flee the country says that following the takeover by the Taliban, militants she had previously jailed attempted to hunt her down before she escaped the country.

A recent report from Reuters detailed the female judge’s account, with the woman telling the outlet:

“Four or five Taliban members came and asked people in my house: ‘Where is this woman judge?’ These were people who I had put in jail.”

This former Afghan judge, who is now safe in Europe after being able to successfully evacuate the country from Kabul, is among one of roughly 250 female judges that worked in Afghanistan. The outlet reports that while some were able to flee the country, many remained left behind under the Taliban’s rule.

Many of these female judges in Afghanistan tried fleeing the country while evacuations were taking place in August but were unable to.

With the Taliban having freed prisoners all over the country, the former Afghan judge in Europe says those she’s been in contact with who previously served as judges are “in danger”:

“Their messages are of fear and complete terror. They tell me if they do not get rescued their lives are in direct danger.”

Afghan human rights activist Horia Mosadiq says that it’s not just former female judges that are at risk in Afghanistan while under the Taliban’s rule, but thousands of other women who engaged in various human rights efforts within the country.

British Justice Minister Robert Buckland commented on the matter, noting that they were able to safely evacuate nine former judges in Afghanistan and are actively trying to create a safe passage to Europe for other “very vulnerable people”:

“A lot of these judges were responsible for administering the rule of law and quite rightly they are fearful about the consequences that could now face them with the rise of the Taliban.”

Sarah Kay, a Belfast-based human rights lawyer and member of the Atlas Women network of international lawyers who is part of the online group dubbed as the “digital Dunkirk” had the following to say about the female judges left behind in Afghanistan: 

“Governments had zero interest in evacuating people that were not their own nationals.”

Patricia Whalen, an America-based judge who helped train female Afghan judges abroad, is also assisting with finding a way to get these women in Afghanistan safely evacuated:

“The responsibility that we bear is almost unbearable at the moment because we are one of the few people taking responsibility for this group.”

Over the past month, the Taliban have sworn that they’ll uphold the rights of women “within the limits of Islam,” according to a spokesperson for the outfit.

The Biden administration has affirmed that in the event the Taliban go back on their pledges regarding the treatment of Afghan citizens, then some sort of action will be taken to hold the Taliban accountable.

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‘We’re in charge now’: Photo appears to show Taliban posing alongside CT State Trooper hat

(Originally published September 2nd, 2021)

KABUL, AFGHANISTAN – Pictures of a Taliban leader and his troops posing for photos with their guns at the former Afghan National Police Academy in Kabul were published in a UK newspaper – which a certain hat visible in one of the photos is causing some controversy.

A Connecticut State Trooper’s hat, which had been given to Afghan police trainees by the Americans who trained them previously, was conspicuously exhibited on the desk in front of the Taliban militants in pictures taken on August 24th, according to The Sun.

According to the New York Post, the photo showed Taliban Commander Qasi Ali seated behind a desk surrounded by armed Taliban soldiers in a training center formerly used by United States-led NATO forces on the eastern outskirts of Kabul.

While speaking with The Sun, Ali stated:

“Look at this office. We haven’t looted anything.”

Next to the Connecticut State Trooper’s hat was a British police helmet that was also gifted to the Afghan police trainees under similar circumstances to that of the trooper hat.

According to the New Haven Register, Connecticut State Police spokesman Brian Foley stated that hundreds of active and former Connecticut state troopers have served in the military abroad, and that exchanging police hats and patches is a customary gesture of confidence and respect:

“While it is impossible to definitively determine, it is plausible and we believe that a retired trooper of the rank of lieutenant or higher, deployed overseas, exchanged the [state police] hat for this honorable purpose.”

While the image of the Taliban posing for a photo in front of something emblematic of the Connecticut State Troopers is unsettling, Foley expressed his gratitude for those who both served abroad and with the state troopers:

“We are proud of the military service of our troopers both active and retired and have a deep appreciation of the sacrifices they have all made.”

The Taliban commander was trying to showcase to The Sun that he and his troops had not plundered the facility, which still had a fully functional office with computers. Even the CCTV, according to Ali, was still fully operational.

Ali also claimed to have contacted some of the civilian personnel who previously worked at the training center, including cooks and electricians, and asked them to return to work.

With Americans still stranded in Afghanistan after the United States completed their military withdrawal, legitimate concerns loom on what may happen to those Americans abroad while under the rule of the Taliban. Ali claims that these Americans have nothing to worry about:

“I don’t know why people are scared. The Taliban have brought security.”

Only time will tell whether or not Ali’s words bear any semblance of reality.


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