Nonprofit made up of veterans works to get Afghan allies out of war-torn country

Buckley Report

(WGHP) — War is never pleasant but it can seem to be just, if fought for the right cause.

American soldiers who fought in Afghanistan felt that’s how they were perceived when they arrived in October 2001.

“It was described to me a couple different times as, ‘You’re not the Russians, you’re not here just to kill, you’re not here just to maim, you’re here to make a difference,’” said Mike Adams, a 22-year veteran of the U.S. Army who served in Afghanistan.

But five weeks shy of the 20th anniversary of that invasion to root out the terrorists who attacked America on 9/11, U.S. forces abruptly pulled out.

They left behind not just hundreds of military vehicles and weapons … they also left behind most of their Afghan allies – people who fought beside the Americans and also worked as their translators and guides. Those are the very people the Taliban is hunting down now that the Americans are no longer there to protect them.

The American military personnel who worked with the Afghanis, though, feel a need to help their allies get out before it’s too late. A group of them have formed a nonprofit called Task Force Pineapple, named for the symbol given to one Afghan ally to show the soldiers at the airport in Kabul that he was just that – an ally – who needed to be rescued. And that’s not Task Force Pineapple’s only victory.

“We were able to get about 630 folks through the wall at the airport, onto planes. Since then, we’re over a thousand individuals,” said Zac Lois, a former Green Beret now working with Task Force Pineapple. But he knows they have many more to go. “We have 5,000 people in our manifest, alone.”

Since they aren’t formally a part of the U.S. government, nonprofits like Task Force Pineapple have a lot of hoops to jump through without much help.

“The biggest challenge to getting people out safely, quite frankly, is doing it legally,” said Lyla Kohistany, a Navy vet who is, herself, emigrated from Afghanistan when she was a child.

If organizations like Task Force Pineapple don’t succeed in removing our allies soon, these vets all say, it’s likely they won’t survive long.

See more of their story and quest in this edition of the Buckley Report.

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