A network of special operations veterans continues to work to rescue Americans trapped in Afghanistan following the departure of the U.S. military on Tuesday.
The group, known as the Pineapple Express, has shifted its approach following the Biden administration’s deadline, according to an exclusive report on Thursday from Breitbart News.
“We’re having to move from what was a very network-centric starfish kind of thing to way more of a deliberate recovery. That focuses on two things, moving people to safety, getting them immediately out of harm’s way from retribution and targeting and then ultimately some of them to freedom,” retired Green Beret and Pineapple Express leader Army Lt. Col. Scott Mann said.
“Categorically, we’re looking at American citizens that are still a couple of hundred, at least, that are still in country,” he added.
The volunteer group of American veterans has reportedly helped hundreds of Americans and members of Afghan elite forces and their families reach safety.
The group, dubbed Task Force Pineapple, conducted an operation last week to rescue as many as 500 people.
“As of Thursday morning, the group said it had brought as many as 500 Afghan special operators, assets and enablers and their families into the airport in Kabul overnight, handing them each over to the protective custody of the U.S. military,” ABC News reported.
“That number added to more than 130 others over the past 10 days who had been smuggled into the airport encircled by Taliban fighters since the capital fell to the extremists on Aug. 16 by Task Force Pineapple, an ad hoc groups of current and former U.S. special operators, aid workers, intelligence officers and others with experience in Afghanistan who banded together to save as many Afghan allies as they could.”
Mann, the co-founder of the group, also leads an organization called Rooftop Leadership.
“We made a commitment to get them out and this is our chance to do the right thing. And I’m telling you if we don’t, Brianna, it’s going to haunt us for a very, very long time,” Mann said during a CNN interview last week.
— Scott Mann (@RooftopLeader) August 23, 2021
A GoFundMe page offered supporters an opportunity to donate to the group’s expenses.
Saving Heroes https://t.co/HmybjszkAe.
This is a non profit supporting the baller Americans running the Pineapple Express mission to get allies out. @RooftopLeader
— Tim Miller (@Timodc) August 27, 2021
A video from Mann also explained the purpose behind the group’s effort.
The group continues operating as the U.S. wrapped up a nearly two-decade presence in Afghanistan following the events of 9/11.
The departure remains controversial for the Biden administration, as hundreds of Americans remain under Taliban control, with 13 military members killed after a suicide bombing outside the Kabul airport last week.