The Taliban, actually enemies of the United States, have escorted American evacuees to the airport of the Afghan capital Kabul several times. The new rulers in Afghanistan did so after a secret agreement with the American armed forces, CNN reports. The news channel relies on two defence officials who want to remain anonymous.
The fleeing Americans were told to gather at certain points, such as a building close to the airport. They were controlled there by Taliban fighters. They then brought the groups of Americans to an entrance where American troops let them in.
“It worked, it worked very well,” says one of the sources.
American special forces could reach fellow countrymen through so-called call centres to tell them what to do. Also a “secret” entrance to the airport was made for the Americans.
The agreements with the Taliban have not been made public because of their sensitivity: for years the US maintained the policy of ‘not negotiating with terrorists’. The Americans were also concerned about a reaction from the Taliban if the agreement was to get publicity. But they also feared attacks by the radical Islamic State, rivals of the Taliban, on the escorted groups. A suicide bomber blew himself up last week and caused at least 182 deaths, including 13 American soldiers.
Over 120,000 people have been evacuated from Kabul airport in recent weeks, including more than six thousand Americans.