OPINION: This article contains commentary which reflects the author's opinion
The ranking Republican on the House Foreign Affairs Committee said Sunday that the Taliban were holding Americans “hostage” by preventing them from leaving aboard a half-dozen planes that are ready for departure because they “want something” in return.
“We have six airplanes at Mazar Sharif Airport, six airplanes with American citizens on them as I speak, also with these interpreters, and the Taliban is holding them hostage for demands right now,” Rep. Michael McCaul, R-Texas, said during an interview with “Fox News Sunday” host Chris Wallace.
“State has cleared these flights, and the Taliban will not let them leave the airport,” he continued, referring to the State Department.
STUCK ON PLANES: @RepMcCaul says Americans and Afghan interpreters have been held hostage by the Taliban for days at the Mazar-i-Sharif International Airport in Afghanistan. #FoxNewsSunday pic.twitter.com/2gJfxNTIfJ
— FoxNewsSunday (@FoxNewsSunday) September 5, 2021
Wallace continued to press the Texas Republican, which led McCaul to declare that the development is “turning into a hostage situation.”
“Well, they are not clearing airplanes to depart. They’ve sat at the airport for the last couple days, these planes, and they’re not allowed to leave,” McCaul said. “We know the reason why is because the Taliban want something in exchange.”
“This is really, Chris, turning into a hostage situation where they’re not gonna allow American citizens to leave until they get full recognition from the United States of America,” McCaul added.
The ranking Foreign Affairs Committee member is not the first Republican to broach the subject.
In a Friday evening interview with Newsmax TV, McCaul’s Texas colleague, Rep. Ronny Jackson, formerly the White House physician, also said that the Taliban were currently blocking Americans from flying out of the country.
“They’ve already been manifested on flights,” he told “Greg Kelly Reports” before adding that the Taliban leadership wants something in return for allowing the Americans and their Afghani allies to leave, such as cash or recognition as the country’s legitimate government, which would be a major public relations feat.
“The airplanes are there. Everything is ready to go. They can’t get out, and the reason they can’t get out is because the Taliban won’t release the flight until Sept. 9 because they want to be recognized as an official government,” Jackson said.
“They want to be officially recognized as a legitimate government,” he continued.
“And I guarantee you these hostages, they’re hostages right now, are being held until the American, until the United States, until the Biden administration recognizes the Taliban as a government,” Jackson noted further.
The former White House doctor and freshman GOP lawmaker went on to rip President Joe Biden and his administration for stranding Americans and U.S. allies in the country in the first place.
“This is not going to be the first nor the last lie that we’ve heard from the Biden administration,” Jackson said.
“This entire thing is just a web of lies. We’re working today. We still, both of us, we still have people over there,” he noted, adding that at least seven of his Texas district constituents are among those who are “trapped.”
“I have American citizens, citizens, at least seven of them, probably more from my district right now, that are trapped over there right now,” he said.
”They cannot get out. And you know what we were told? We were told today, I was told, that the State Department has some of them, and I won’t say where, that are [in] pretty big danger,” said Jackson.