Taliban escorted Americans to gates of Kabul airport in secret pact with US: Reporttext_fields
Members of the Taliban escorted American evacuees to the gates of Kabul's airport after the US military negotiated a secret agreement with the militant group, CNN reports, citing two defense officials.
As per an IANS report, one of the officials also revealed that the US special operation forces set up a "secret gate" at the airport and established "call centres" to guide Americans through the evacuation process.
While one of the military officials said the arrangement with the Taliban "worked beautifully", Americans involved in an unofficial network dedicated to helping Americans and vulnerable Afghans said there were problems -- particularly in the beginning -- as the Taliban turned away US citizens and legal permanent residents whom the militant group was supposed to allow through.
The officials said Americans were notified to gather at pre-set "muster points" close to the airport where the Taliban would gather the Americans, check their credentials and take them a short distance to a gate manned by American forces who were standing by to let them inside amid huge crowds of Afghans seeking to flee.
The US troops were able to see the Americans approach with their Taliban escorts as they progressed through the crowds, presumably ready to intervene in case anything happened.
Multiple sources in the US, who were in contact with people trying to escape, reported that American citizens and passport holders in Kabul were in disbelief that they were being told they would receive safe passage from the Taliban. Many thought they were misunderstanding the directions and sought clarification, the report said.
Sources said they had to assure those attempting to use a muster point that the Taliban would indeed allow them through, the report said.
(as per an IANS report)