As the country plunged into chaos, Former Green Beret Scott Mann led a secret mission in the wee hours of the night to sneak at least 500 people, including women and children, into the secured zone in Afghanistan.
“It started with a handful of us who were friends with an Afghan commando,” Scott said.
“Then more names started coming into my inbox,” Scott continued. He asked his team if they wanted to continue, they did, and the “Pineapple Express” team was born.
“I’m absolutely not a hero. But I got to serve with a whole bunch of them,” Scott said at the Patriot Awards, to a roaring crowd. “This is also for the Afghan partners … they fought to the last round.”
“When institutional leadership failed us, a lot of combat veterans … stepped into the breach and showed us what leadership looks like,” he said.
In August, the Taliban began establishing a series of checkpoints blocking civilians and foreigners alike from getting to safety at the Hamid Karzai International Airport where the U.S. military had established a perimeter. At the time, the U.S. released a statement, along with foreign nations, that said human rights must be preserved and that Afghans “deserve to live in safety, security and dignity.”
Kabul was the last major city to hold out in Afghanistan as the rest of the country collapsed to the Taliban. Mann and his group of veterans swooped in to save Afghans who were under threat of the Islamist group, some of whom were receiving death threats.
“Dozens of high-risk individuals, families with small children, orphans, and pregnant women, were secretly moved through the streets of Kabul throughout the night and up to just seconds before ISIS detonated a bomb into the huddled mass of Afghans seeking safety and freedom,” the veteran told ABC News at the time.
Some of the refugees on the “Pineapple Express” mission were wounded in the ISIS-K terror attack, and initially, it wasn’t clear if any among those seeking refuge had died in the blast. The explosion outside the airport killed 13 U.S. service members, including 10 Marines.
“It was a madhouse at the airfield,” he said.
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