This Herculean effort couldn’t have been done without the unofficial heroes inside the airfield who defied their orders

Friday, August 27th, 2021

An all-volunteer group of American veterans launched a mission on Wednesday night — dubbed the “Pineapple Express” — to shepherd hundreds of at-risk Afghan elite forces and their families to safety:

Moving after nightfall in near-pitch black darkness and extremely dangerous conditions, the group said it worked unofficially in tandem with the United States military and U.S. embassy to move people, sometimes one person at a time, or in pairs, but rarely more than a small bunch, inside the wire of the U.S. military-controlled side of Hamid Karzai International Airport.

The Pineapple Express’ mission was underway Thursday when the attack occurred in Kabul. Two suicide bombers believed to have been ISIS fighters killed 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, according to U.S. officials.


“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,” Army Lt. Col. Scott Mann, a retired Green Beret commander who led the private rescue effort, told ABC News.


The operation carried out Wednesday night was an element of “Task Force Pineapple,” an informal group whose mission began as a frantic effort on Aug. 15 to get one former Afghan commando who had served with Mann into the Kabul airport as he was being hunted by the Taliban who were texting him death threats.

They knew he had worked with U.S. Special Forces and the elite SEAL Team Six for a dozen years, targeting Taliban leadership, and was, therefore, a high-value target for them, sources told ABC News.

Two months ago, this commando told ABC News he had narrowly escaped a tiny outpost in northern Afghanistan that was later overrun while awaiting his U.S. special immigrant visa to be approved.

The effort since he was saved in a harrowing effort, along with his family of six, reached a crescendo this week with dozens of covert movements coordinated virtually on Wednesday by more than 50 people in an encrypted chat room, which Mann described as a night full of dramatic scenes rivaling a “Jason Bourne” thriller unfolding every 10 minutes.

The small groups of Afghans repeatedly encountered Taliban foot soldiers who they said beat them but never checked identity papers that might have revealed them as operators who spent two decades killing Taliban leadership. All carried U.S. visas, pending visa applications or new applications prepared by members of Task Force Pineapple, they told ABC News.

“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,” Mann said.

With the uniformed U.S. military unable to venture outside the airport’s perimeter to collect Americans and Afghans who’ve sought U.S. protection for their past joint service, they instead provided overwatch and awaited coordinated movements by an informal Pineapple Express ground team that included “conductors” led by former Green Beret Capt. Zac Lois, known as the underground railroad’s “engineer.”

This technical detail caught my attention:

Around 8 p.m. EST Wednesday, the shepherds reported in the chatroom, which was viewed by ABC News, one by one that their passenger groups maneuvering discreetly in the darkness toward rally points had suddenly gone dark and were unreachable on their cell phones.

“We have lost comms with several of our teams,” texted Jason Redman, a combat-wounded former Navy SEAL and author, who was shepherding Afghans he knew.

There was concern the Taliban had dropped the cell towers — but another Task Force Pineapple member, a Green Beret, reported that he learned the U.S. military had employed cell phone jammers to counter the IED threat at Abbey gate.


  1. VXXC says:

    The Talib will make it worse on the way out. Yes, worse yet.

  2. bruce purcell says:

    If I was Taliban I’d want to keep a trickle of Americans going home to keep a flood of Taliban going to America. The Establishment consensus for lower wages through higher immigration will prevent them from vetting Afghan incoming.

  3. Sam J. says:

    It’s so very sad what we have become. I bet, in fact I know with a high degree of certainty, that if you were to just drag a thousand or so business owners off the streets. Anything, tire recappers, box makers, hair salon owners, McDonald franchise owners and get them to analyze what assets we had, what we could do and then let them organize a retreat they would probably get most everyone out in some reasonable way.

    The problem is all the crooked Jew money and media only picks out the incompetent, crooked, blackmail-able and the evil to run our country. Common sense and initiative is positively ruled against.

    We have people like Hunter Biden running things. Hunter was complaining about bringing in all the money for the family but what does he do??? He is the son of Joe Biden and he travels around the world and collects tribute for which countries get our tax dollars, information or trade deals in return. He gets the skim but he doesn’t seem to have any other part of his life in any sort of decent arrangement at all. This is the type people who call the shots.

    What we really need to do is throw the whole entire mass of them on the streets and elect anyone, by lot would be better than what we have now. I can’t see that happening because they are stealing all the elections.

    This will not end well.

  4. Harry Jones says:

    Who’s in charge? If you take the initiative and get the job done, you are de facto in charge.

    Human nature abhors a power vacuum.

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