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Senior GOP House member says Taliban holding some Americans

Republican Representative Michael McCaul of Texas speaks during the US House Committee on Foreign Affairs hearing on the administration foreign policy priorities on Capitol Hill on March 10, 2021, in Washington. (Ken Cedeno/ Pool via AP)
Republican Representative Michael McCaul of Texas speaks during the US House Committee on Foreign Affairs hearing on the administration foreign policy priorities on Capitol Hill on March 10, 2021, in Washington. (Ken Cedeno/ Pool via AP)

WASHINGTON — The top Republican on the House Foreign Affairs Committee says some Americans who have been trying to get out of Afghanistan since the US military left are sitting in airplanes at an airport ready to leave, but the Taliban are not letting them take off.

US Representative Michael McCaul of Texas says there are six airplanes at the Mazar-e-Sharif airport with American citizens on board, along with their Afghan interpreters, and the Taliban are “holding them hostage” right now.

A worker at the Mazar-e-Sharif airport confirms several aircraft he believes were chartered by the US are parked at the airport. Taliban have prevented them from leaving, saying they wanted to check the documents of those on board, many of whom do not have passports or visas. The airport official does not want to be identified because of the sensitivity of the subject.

McCaul, speaking on “Fox News Sunday,” says the Taliban have made demands. He gives no specifics but says he is worried “They’re going to demand more and more, whether it be cash or legitimacy as the government of Afghanistan.”

He says the aircraft have been at the airport for “the last couple days.”

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