Newsweek reports that six private charter planes trying to evacuate at least 1,000 people — including more than 100 Americans—out of Afghanistan have been grounded by the Taliban. The terrorist group is in negotiations with the U.S. State Department, an official with an NGO working on the evacuation told Newsweek.
One is a plane chartered by Glenn Beck, the conservative media personality. It’s in the city of Mazar-i-Sharif.
Three other evacuation flights — two chartered by the international development organization Sayara, and one by Goldbelt, Inc., an Alaska Native corporation based in Juneau — are also said to have Americans onboard. It’s unclear if these planes and their passengers are being held hostage.
Funded with private money, Glenn Beck’s Mercury One rescue mission chartered two Airbus 340s and four Boeing 737s from Kam Air, the largest private Afghan airline, for eight evacuation flights to a Gulf state.
The other three flights with Sayara and Goldbelt were also chartered from Kam Air but their intended destination is currently unclear, the news company reported.
Must Read Alaska was unable to reach McHugh Pierre, the CEO of Goldbelt, Inc., for comment.
According to a source, Sayara has a manifest of 700 passengers, with at least 19 of who are Americans.
Goldbelt, Inc. is an urban Alaska Native Corporation formed in 1974. Goldbelt has extensive federal contracts, which represent about 96 percent of its revenue sources. It’s involved in IT work; medical services; and military support, including providing weapons, ammunition, and vehicles. It has contracts with the Department of Army, Department of Navy, and the State Department.
In Kabul, the company has a subsidiary that did prescreening for the Green Zone in Kabul for the Bureau of International Narcotic and Law Enforcement Affairs. Examples of Goldbelt’s military and other contracts can be found at this link.