McCaul: Taliban won’t let Americans leave from Afghanistan airport

WASHINGTON DC (Mon-itoring Desk): Rep. Mic-hael McCaul (R-Texas) sa-id on Sunday that six airpl-anes carrying American citizens and Afghan allies are sitting at an airport in Afg-hanistan trying to depart, but that the Taliban is “h-olding them hostage for demands.”

McCaul, the top Republican on the House Foreign Affairs Committee, said the airplanes have been at Mazar-i-Sharif Internat-ional Airport in northern Afghanistan “for the last couple of days,” but have been unable to leave des-pite approval from the State Department.

“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,” Mc-Caul told host Wallace on “Fox News Sund-ay.”

“State has cleared these flights and the Taliban will not let them leave the airport,” he added.

When pressed by Wallace on what demands the Taliban are making, McCaul said the circumstances are “turning into a hostage situation.”

“Well, they are not clearing airplanes to depart. They’ve sat at the airport for the last couple days, these planes, and they’re not allowed to leave,” McCaul said. “We know the reason why is because the Taliban want something in exchange. This is really, Chris, 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,” he added.

The U.S. completed its withdrawal mission from Afghanistan on Tuesday, b-ut a number Americans still remain in the country.

McCaul said “hundreds of American citizens” are still in Afghanistan, but Se-cretary of State Blinken last week said “under 200 and l-ikely closer to 100” U.S. ci-tizens are still in the country. The Hill has reached out to the State Department and the White House for comment.

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