Hostage situation? Goldbelt-chartered plane still pinned to tarmac as Taliban, State Department negotiate terms

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Six jets are said to be still stuck at the airport in Mazar-i-Sharif, Afghanistan’s fourth-largest city. The Taliban will not allow them to exit, the State Department says, and now word is the State Department is telling countries not to take the planes, which contain an unknown number of Americans who have been stuck on the planes for six days.

Texas Congressman Michael McCaul, the top Republican on the Foreign Affairs Committee, told CNN that the number of Americans on those planes is in the hundreds. There are also reported Afghan allies — those Afghans who helped the Americans during the 20-year war.

“(The Taliban) are not clearing the airplanes to depart. They’ve sat at the airport for the last couple of days,” McCaul said on Fox News Sunday. “We know the reason why is because the Taliban want something in exchange. This is … turning into a hostage situation where they’re not going to allow American citizens leave until they get full recognition from the United States of America.”

McCaul has referred to the passengers as hostages, a characterization disputed by the Newsweek editor who is monitoring the story. Newsweek editor-at-large Naveed Jamali wrote: “Also @RepMcCaul was absolutely incorrect as characterizing any of these people as hostages. There is nobody being denied exit of the country, or being detained on a plane. Instead the Taliban has not granted clearance for the planes to leave. Spoke to two sources who confirmed.”

He elaborated, saying, “Also the PLANES are being denied clearance, not the PEOPLE. Yes that is a pretty big distinction.”

Among the “planes denied clearance” is a charted jet from Goldbelt, an Alaska Native corporation based in Juneau. Goldbelt has numerous military contracts, which included vetting people for entrance into the former “Green Zone” in Kabul, which was a zone that was safe from terrorism, as people were checked in and out of it. Later, the company was asked to help with evacuating Americans and Afghan allies and charted a jet. The company was not able to provide comment because of what is described as a very dynamic situation in Afghanistan.

At first, the hold up was blamed on having manifests that did not exactly match who was on the planes. Then, the State Department was being blamed for telling allies not to receive the planes.

Secretary of State Antony Blinken traveled to Doha, Qatar, to negotiate with the Taliban and to thank Qatar for its role in facilitating the U.S. retreat from Afghanistan.

Blinken said Tuesday the Taliban “had been reminded in recent hours that the international community is holding the group to its commitment to let anyone with valid travel papers leave Afghanistan if they choose,” according to the Voice of America.

Blinken said the number of U.S. citizens, including those with dual citizenship, who are thought to be still in Afghanistan is about 100, and he said the State Department is in direct contact with them, according to VoA. He said the State Department is in direct contact with them.

He said the Taliban has “told the world that they intend to allow people to travel freely. The world is determined to see that they make good on that commitment. They told the world that they intend to uphold the basic rights of the Afghan people, including women and girls. We’ll be looking very, very carefully at that.  They told the world that they do not intend to engage in reprisals. We’ll be looking very, very carefully at that. And it’s not just the United States; it’s more than a hundred countries around the world that have come together and set clear expectations for the way forward.”

“We are not aware of anyone being held on an aircraft or any hostage-like situation at Mazar-i-Sharif. So we have to work through the different requirements and that’s exactly what we are doing,” Blinken told reporters.

The chair of the Republican National Committee, Ronna McDaniels, was not impressed: “When will Biden admit the Taliban is not offering ‘safe passage’ to Americans trying to leave the country? We’ve had reports of Americans blocked for weeks, but Biden is determined to believe the word of terrorists.”

Must Read Alaska reached out to Sen. Dan Sullivan’s office for comment; staff said that the senator is concerned and is monitoring the situation.

17 COMMENTS

  1. I bet Sully’s got his favorite pen ready to scratch out some harsh demands! Furrowed brow. Two, maybe three paragraphs. Teach ’em all that your pen is mightier, Danny boy!

  2. Fraud , betrayal, sell out , not a leader failed father. Not a leader .
    Expected results ,am I right?
    His administration is undermining our heroes.
    What will retribution be ? Political failure or worse? Will he be held accountable? No he won’t. Weak representation.

  3. If they flew another plane in, would they let the people leave on it? No didn’t think so.
    This is a historical hostage situation being handled in a historically horrible manner and the clowns in charge are playing word games that they think no one can see through. Meanwhile hundreds of lives are at stake.

  4. SD: 10th paragraph (“Blinken said the number…”) has a repeated fragment and sentence (after VoA…) Thanks!

  5. Here’s but only a few relevant questions for the current “esteemed” and “cherished” political leaders now holding office (ie – Don, Dan, Lisa, Joe, Kamala), certainly playing a part in this foreign policy debacle:

    Its been said on several occasions that the US “withdrawal” from Afghanistan would have been chaotic and humiliating no matter when it occurred. Are you aware that the Soviets withdrew from Afghanistan in 1989; on parade, flags flying, equipment intact, in broad daylight – without casualties or opposition? What do you think that contrast says about our military executive leadership performance, especially their personal courage, conviction, competence and leadership abilities?

    When the Russians retreated in 1989, the CIA claimed “we won.” Is Afghanistan still a win today?

    Given the timing of the upcoming 20th Anniversary of 9/11. Were you expecting to take a victory lap this September? What, then, were your motives for changing the withdrawal date?

    After three tries now, America can’t beat a Taliban (of mostly goat herders and opium farmers) equipped with fear, small arms, and Toyotas. What do you think another generational military failure says about our ability to potentially deter Chinese imperial aggression, potentially deter the Russians, and.or defeat the international, indeed now global jihad?

    Your team continues to call the operation in Kabul a “retrograde.” Wouldn’t it be more appropriate to call what we saw as a … rout, defeat, retreat, or even humiliation?

    Clearly, we quit in Afghanistan. Do you think that the Taliban and associated resident terror networks are about to quit, too?

    Your former boss Barack Hussein Obama characterized ISIS as “second string.” As new graves are dug at Arlington, do you stand by that assessment of ISIS?

    Given the Afghan fiasco, the Russians, Chinese, and Iranians seem to be gloating at American expense. Do you think American standing in the world has been damaged by your administration’s performance in Afghanistan?

    Mr. Putin has said that the Russian army “could take Kiev in a week” if necessary. Is the Russian president wrong?

    The Turks abandoned their security positions at the Kabul airport before the evacuation was complete. Do you think Turkey is a true NATO “partner” — or a reliable ally in the war on terror? Some say that Turkey is NATO’s Trojan Horse. Do you have a position on Turkish reliability as a “partner?” Do you believe Turkey is blackmailing NATO and the EU by threatening to open the refugee spigot into Eastern Europe?

    Along with the Bagram airbase gift, the Pentagon tells us that the Taliban released thousands of al-Qaida and ISIS terrorists back onto the streets of Pakistan. At the same time, we are told that ISIS and the Taliban are “sworn” enemies. How do you square-up that circle? In fact, both groups are also “sworn” religious fanatics. Is it not possible that hate for infidels in general, and hate for America in particular, trumps any petty intramural squabbles?

    Often the reference to OTH (ie: over-the-horizon) capabilities, is the next big thing in anti-terror operations. Do you think airpower alone wins wars? Or, are drone strikes just the most convenient or most economical way to limit U.S. casualties, while making it appear that something is being done about Islamofascism?

    Clearly the Taliban are experienced and accomplished “sharp” traders. What exactly is being offered (given) to the Taliban for allowing evacuees to supposedly depart Afghanistan in September and beyond?

    Why are the Taliban not on the CTC official list of terror groups?

    Does the State Department or Pentagon think terror cults like the Taliban can be bribed to behave?

    The impression is that ISIS-K is our terror flavor of the day. In the past, it might have been the Taliban, ISIS, or al-Qaida. We are led to believe that these groups are unrelated and divided by local motives. Given the number of global Islamist groups now recognized by the Counter Terrorism Center, is it not possible that the Muslim jihad is a strategic threat, possibly even an “existential” threat to America and her allies?

    What roles do Muslim sponsor states like Iran, Saudi Arabia, and Pakistan play in the global jihad?

    How would you characterize the so-called “war on terror” … win, loss, or draw?

    Does the Pentagon still believe in winning today? Or, are they more focused on social initiatives, climate change and.or patriotic Americans?

    Over the years, we have been assured by the intelligence community that Muslim terror is not an “existential” threat. Now that the Sunni Taliban have taken Afghanistan; nuclear Pakistan, next door, seems to be at risk. Concurrently, proto-nuclear Shite jihadists have control in Iran. How many Islamist states have to possess nuclear weapons before the global jihad becomes an “existential” threat to America?

    It’s been said on several occasions that the buck stops at your office. At the same time, the blame is squarely placed upon the Trump administration, our Afghan military “partners,” and even “inevitability” for the Kabul mess. Which is it?

    How many more lives is it estimated that will be lost due to your mismanagement?

    When & Where is it estimated that the next 9/11 disaster will strike American soil?

    Outside of the $85Billion in military armament left / abandoned, how much more future taxpayer dollars will be required to eliminate the Muslim threat?

    Is there a date certain when any of you take responsibility for any of this failure on your watch?

  6. Dress this up however you want but when you boil it all away, State Secretary Lord Antony Blinken is “negotiating” with a terrorist enemy for the release of a large number of citizens of the United States. The terrorists hold the high cards and you can bet the farm that the Biden regime will give up a whole lot before the matter is resolved. Many elements of the “agreement” may not be disclosed the public or even to Congress because they would cause an uproar. The current President and his people are now in a very deep hole. The United States, as a result of the incompetence of the current administration, will pay billions upon billions, make many concessions and generally kowtow to the Taliban. You can hardly blame the Taliban. They probably have a good idea about the weakness of the current President.

  7. Effective negotiation with thugs like the Taliban start and end like this: “Let them leave or we’ll kill every single one of you.”
    Follow that up with a small demonstration of our resolve and the planes will be in the air within hours.
    America has the capability to kill from a great distance and we shouldn’t negotiate with terrorists.

  8. Wait, the mainstream media said the Taliban had been negotiated with and all was good. This was the media that mentioned it, most don’t. Here in Juneau, nothing has been said or mentioned in any of our media, weird. Maybe the Taliban has them under quarantine so they don’t bring any new strains of COVID to the USA since they love us so much.

  9. I suggest that they send Pretendent PotatoHead over their to negotiate with the Taliban for the release of those remaining Americans in Afghanistan.

    It would be amusing to see those weird little black pinhole-eyes of his shrink down even further in the harsh Afghan sunlight.

    “Hey Afghan kiddies, who wants to come feel Uncle Joe’s luxurious leg hair?”

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