US used secret CIA base outside Kabul to evacuate Americans, 1,000 Afghan commandos & their families – media
The US reportedly used a secret CIA compound to rescue Americans, along with members of elite Afghan special forces, amid the chaos in and around the Kabul airport.
The compound, known as the Eagle Base and located less than three miles north of the Hamid Karzai International Airport in Kabul, was used to covertly get hundreds of US nationals and at least 1,000 Afghan commandos and their families out of the country, Politico reported, citing flight documents and three highly placed sources.
The evacuees were instructed to head out to the base in order to avoid security risks and the general chaos outside the airport, which was flooded by locals after the Afghan capital was seized by the Taliban on August 15. The diplomats communicated directly with US nationals, including when the embassy was urging Americans to stay away from the airport in the light of growing terrorist threats.
Some people were flown from the base by helicopters to the Kabul airport and later airlifted to Germany, Politico said. A CIA spokesperson declined to comment on the operation to the website.
President Joe Biden was heavily criticized by opponents from the Republican Party and media for the frantically organized last-minute evacuation and for not taking measures to rescue Americans and allied Afghans sooner. Biden, however, described the operation as a success, calling it “one of the biggest airlifts in history.”
Overall, more than 124,000 people were flown out of Kabul during the last two weeks of August, according to the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, US Army General Mark Milley.
Biden vowed to help Americans remaining in Afghanistan leave, if they want to, even after the last US troops left the country on Monday, bringing an end to nearly two decades of occupation.
The evacuation was marred by a suicide bombing outside the Kabul airport, which killed 13 US soldiers and more than 160 Afghan civilians. Islamic State Khorasan Province (ISIS-K), an offshoot of Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS) in Afghanistan, claimed responsibility for the attack.
The NATO-trained Afghan security force largely dissipated during the final stage of the Taliban offensive last month, allowing the militants to capture a sizable arsenal of military hardware, including US-made weapons and gear.
The US and some of its NATO allies invaded Afghanistan in 2001 in the wake of the 9/11 terrorist attacks, in order to fight Al-Qaeda and other jihadist groups.
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