The final U.S. service members left Afghanistan this week as Tuesday’s deadline approached for a troop withdrawal.
With vulnerable Americans and allies left behind, however, reports indicate an informal rescue mission continues in the war-torn country.
“That’s a little harder”
According to the Daily Wire, the so-called Task Force Pineapple is being led by a former Army Green Beret soldier.
Retired Army Lt. Col. Scott Mann made it clear that his group, which consists of special operations troops and other veterans of the U.S. and Afghan military, is on an unofficial mission that will continue regardless of the Biden administration’s formal end of the American occupation.
“Now we’re pivoting into, how do we move them out of the country unconventionally, without the airfield?” he explained in a statement to the Daily Mail. “That’s a little harder but we’re still gonna do it.”
He insisted that the ad hoc group is “not going anywhere” following the final official evacuations from the international airport in Kabul.
“We’re going to stay on it until either the government comes in and responsibly takes it away from us and we feel confident that they’re going to do it, or we get them out,” Mann added.
“Freedom outside the borders”
Although he declined to offer specific details, he explained that the task force “will use the same relationships we’ve been using to move people into safety and out of harm’s way and then to freedom outside the borders.”
Referring to the “shepherd concept” in describing the mission, he added: “This isn’t over and we aren’t stopping until we have our people out.”
ABC News reported on the heroic efforts of Mann’s hastily assembled group, which is working primarily from outside of Afghanistan using encrypted messages with contacts still inside the country.
As for the task force’s name, it is reportedly derived from the use of pineapples — either as a password or photo — being used to identify those being guided to Americans within a security perimeter who were cooperating with the unofficial mission.
The latest estimates indicate that roughly 750 individuals have been saved as a result of the efforts, offering a stark contrast to the willingness of the Biden administration and top military officials to complete a troop withdrawal by an arbitrary deadline.