The veteran United States Army Green Beret who led “Task Force Pineapple” — a secret mission that rescued hundreds of Americans and Afghan allies trapped behind enemy lines in Kabul, Afghanistan, during the Biden administration  evacuation and withdrawal, says “Task Force Pineapple’s” efforts will continue, even though the U.S. military is now gone.

Retired Army Lt. Col. Scott Mann, led a “group of special op soldiers including retired Green Berets and SEAL Team commanders” who were inspired to taken matters into their own hands “after one of the Afghan commandos they served with contacted them to say he was on the run from the Taliban. His visa had not been approved when the Taliban took over on August 14 and thousands ran for the airport,”

“The special ops soldiers first devised a system with US troops at the airport where they sent their comrades to a gate and told them to identify themselves with the password ‘pineapple’ to be put on a plane by the Marines on the ground. Some also showed the troops pictures of pineapples on their phones,” the Daily Mail reported last week. ABC News added that the group “worked unofficially in tandem with the United States military and the U.S. embassy to move people, sometimes one person at a time, or in pairs, bur rarely more than a small bunch, inside the wire of the U.S. military controlled side of Hamid Karzai International Airport.”

As of last Thursday, Task Force Pineapple’s “Pineapple Express” had saved as many as 500 Afghan operators, and 130 other individuals, including children and pregnant women, often with the help of “unofficial heroes” inside the airfield who defied Biden administration “orders not to help beyond the airport perimeter,” per ABC News.

On Monday, the U.S. military, abiding by an arbitrary withdrawal timeline set by the Biden administration, pulled all of its presence out of Kabul, leaving, according to U.S. military Central Command (CENTCOM), several hundred Americans who wanted to leave behind. The State Department said Monday that it’s counting on the Taliban to help facilitate those individuals’ departures, but it is not clear that the Taliban is willing to cooperate.

Mann says “Task Force Pineapple” will remain in place, however, and he noted that around 750 people have now been rescued.

“Now we’re pivoting into, how do we move them out of the country unconventionally, without the airfield? That’s a little harder but we’re still gonna do it,” Mann told the Daily Mail. “We’re not going anywhere. 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 said that the group “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. We will continue to use the shepherd concept. This isn’t over and we aren’t stopping until we have our people out.”

President Joe Biden is expected to address the nation Tuesday afternoon and will reportedly explain why a decision was made not to move the deadline for withdrawal despite “hundreds” of Americans being stranded by truncated rescue efforts.

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