“(Taliban) planes did not destroy the departure. They have been sitting at the airport for the past two days,” McCall told Fox News on Sunday. “We know the reason why the Taliban want to exchange something. This is really Chris, they will not allow American citizens to leave until they get the full approval of the United States.
McCall told Fox News that he had received information that the number of Americans in Afghanistan was “in the hundreds,” in the “classified area.”
The Texas Republicans added: “We have six planes at Mazar Sharif Airport. As I speak, six planes with American citizens, along with these interpreters, the Taliban are already holding them hostage for demands.” CNN could not independently confirm McCall’s claim that the plane was unable to leave the airport with U.S. citizens.
McCall spokeswoman Leslie Shed clarified: “There are planes waiting to take off in Mazar-e-Sharif, which were not allowed to take off by the Taliban.
The State Department said it had no information on the situation, but said the United States had no resources in Afghanistan.
“We understand the concern that many feel when trying to ease the charter and other avenues from Afghanistan. However, we have no people on land, no air assets in the country, we have no control over air – anywhere outside Afghanistan or anywhere else in the region,” a foreign ministry spokesman told CNN.
Because of these restrictions, we do not have reliable means of confirming the basic details of charter flights, who can arrange them, the number of U.S. citizens and other priority groups on board, the accuracy of the rest of the report, and where they plan to land, among many other issues, ”the spokesman said.
The National Security Council did not immediately respond to a request for comment on McCall’s claims.
A spokesman for Ascent, a non-profit organization that helps evacuate people from Afghanistan, told CNN that people were waiting on the ground near Mazar-e-Sharif airport because the Taliban did not allow planes to board. The spokesman clarified that people waiting to fly were not physically waiting on planes.
A spokesman said Ascent was trying to help 34 people leave, and began working with other NGOs to arrange flights for 1,300 people. They know 19 U.S. citizens in that group, but according to Ascent, there may be more.
The U.S. Department of Defense is ready to get people in Qatar and activate them, if they can get there, a spokesman said.
CNN previously reported that domestic flights and humanitarian assistance to Kandahar and Mazar-i-Sharif airports in Kabul had resumed, but Kabul’s airport had not yet resumed civil and international flights. Afghanistan’s national carrier resumed more domestic flights from Kabul to Kandahar and Masar-e-Sharif on Sunday.
The State Department has said it will ensure the Taliban evacuate people from Afghanistan.
“We will keep the pledge to the Taliban that the people will leave Afghanistan freely. As with all Taliban duties, we will focus on the actions, but also on whether the Taliban and the entire international community live up to their obligations,” a foreign ministry spokesman said.
McCall reiterated his belief that US officials should not trust the Taliban.
“I think in many respects, this administration has ignored the warnings of intelligence community values, violated top commanders, and we see ourselves in a very dangerous, dangerous situation where the Taliban are now dictating rules to us,” McCall said.
“I commend President Trump and Secretaries Pompeo and Esper for reaching an agreement with the Taliban and a joint declaration with the Afghan government,” McCall said in a statement.
When the Biden administration made a final withdrawal from Afghanistan in August, McCall turned to criticizing the White House’s involvement with the Taliban.
“I blame this on the previous administration, because I think it’s a conditional agreement,” McCall said on August 16. “And the conditions were not followed by the Taliban.”
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