The ‘Pineapple Express’ to Freedom

The 'Pineapple Express' to Freedom

( – The United States formally ended its 20-year war in Afghanistan shortly before midnight, local time, on August 31. President Joe Biden’s botched, last-minute evacuation effort left hundreds, if not thousands of Afghan allies stranded in the Taliban-controlled country. However, a group of United States special operations veterans carried out a daring series of missions to rescue as many Afghan operatives as possible.

The all-volunteer group of Afghan war veterans included former Navy SEALS and Green Beret members working alongside former intelligence officers and aid workers. Former Navy SEAL Jason Redman spoke with ABC News about the effort, informally called the “Pineapple Express.” According to him, the plan grew out of mounting frustration over the US government’s failure to secure the evacuation of Afghan allies.

The group concluded their humanitarian operation on Wednesday, August 25, mere seconds before an ISIS-K suicide bomber killed 13 US service members outside Kabul’s international airport. Members of the Pineapple Express told reporters they brought as many as 500 Afghan allies to Kabul’s Hamid Karzai International Airport that night and turned them over to US military officials.

The group was initially formed to save a former Afghan commando who had received death threats from the Taliban for working alongside US special forces. After securing his evacuation and that of his family of 6, the American veterans continued operations for about 10 days, rescuing a total of more than 630 Afghan allies and family members.

Former deputy assistant defense secretary Mick Mulroy told reporters the group “never waivered.” America owed its Afghan allies for their “bravery” during the war effort in Afghanistan.

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