At this point, it’s pretty common knowledge what’s going on in Afghanistan.
Afghanistan has quickly fallen under the control of the Taliban after the United States’ withdrawal, and now, a limited number of military members are risking their lives to evacuate as many people, including American citizens, as possible.
But unfortunately, those lives were more than risked, they were taken.
An ISIS suicide bomber detonated an explosive killing at least 13 U.S. service members… 10 U.S. Marines, a Navy corpsman, an Army soldier and another service member… and wounded 15 other service members. More than 150 Afghans were killed as well, and another 150 more were injured in the blast.
It was the deadliest day for American military forces in Afghanistan since 2011… the devastation is beyond measure. Anger, rage sadness… I can’t even really put it all into words right now.
And while I’m not going to get into the politics of the situation (we’d be here for days discussing that), I do want to take the opportunity to shine a spotlight on a group of military veterans who suited back up when they didn’t have to, got on a plane when they didn’t have to, and flew over to Afghanistan on an independent rescue mission to evacuate more people.
Dubbed “The Pineapple Express,” the crew has rescued more than 500 Afghans.
According to ABC News, the volunteer group is comprised of former Afghan War vets who independently conducted a rescue mission to sneak Afghan special operators, assets and enablers and their families through dangerous Taliban-controlled territories and into Hamid Karzai International Airport. Army Lt. Col. Scott Mann, a retired Green Beret commander, led the private mission.
“Dozens of high-risk individuals, families with small children, orphans, and pregnant women, were secretly moved through the streets of Kabul throughout the night and up to just seconds before ISIS detonated a bomb into the huddled mass of Afghans seeking safety and freedom.
This Herculean effort couldn’t have been done without the unofficial heroes inside the airfield who defied their orders to not help beyond the airport perimeter, by wading into sewage canals and pulling in these targeted people who were flashing pineapples on their phones.”
Initially, the mission began as an effort to rescue one former Afghan commando, who had served with Mann, into the Kabul airport. He has worked behind the scenes with Special Forces Units and SEAL Team Six for over a decade to help bring down the Taliban. And now, he is being hunted by them.
Traveling at night, many of the Afghans had to move through sewage-filled canals to find the US solider who would let them through. They showed a pineapple symbol on their cellphones as the secret code… a dangerous process modeled after the Civil War-era Underground Railroad.
Former Green Beret Capt. Zac Lois called the effort truly historic:
“That is an astounding number for an organization that was only assembled days before the start of operations and most of its members had never met each other in person.”
An incredible story…
Risking their lives to go back to the hell they probably thought they had left behind forever, to smuggle their friends and allies to safety. The true definition of “no man left behind.”
We throw words like “hero” and “brave” around a lot, but I think most of us don’t have the slightest clue what it means. And even if we can come up with the right words to describe a “hero” or identify “brave,” we’ve never been anywhere near the real thing. We can’t even comprehend it.
But right here… you’re looking at it.
🇦🇫 #BREAKING Amazing Story of "The Pineapple Express" all-volunteer US special ops vets risking everything to smuggle their Afghan allies and families under cover of night to Kabul airport, determined not to leave their Afghan comrades behind. https://t.co/mxaM2fIdOnpic.twitter.com/RSNKzX8L8k