US Stages Covert Operation to Evacuate Afghan Commandos From Secret CIA Base Outside Kabul: Reports

Friday, 3 September, 2021 - 00:25

30 August saw the end of the US’ chaotic and much-criticised evacuation operation in Afghanistan, with over 120,000 people airlifted from the Central Asian nation following the Taliban’s* takeover of Kabul.

The US staged a covert operation in Afghanistan last month to evacuate hundreds of American nationals and at least 1,000 allied Afghan commandos from Afghanistan via a secret Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) compound outside Kabul, a New York Times probe has revealed.

The inquiry argued that Eagle Base — which until 2004 was home to the Salt Pit prison — was used between 15 and 27 August to assist with evacuation efforts after the Taliban seized power in Afghanistan on 15 August.

According to the newspaper, the investigation was based on the meticulous analysis of relevant “satellite imagery, corporate records, active fire data and flight paths”, which indicated that evacuees were transported by helicopter to Hamid Karzai International Airport to avoid Taliban checkpoints.

The probe’s flight data revealed that “three [Soviet-made] Mi-17 helicopters made at least 35 flights to or from the compound since the Taliban took control of Kabul […]”.

The news outlet Politico, in turn, cited unnamed sources as confirming the CIA’s involvement in the evacuation and noting that the agency had “worked closely with other agencies to facilitate in various ways access to the [Kabul] airport for American citizens and Afghans at risk”.

The sources also referred to flight data, which suggested that some of the evacuees were transported to Germany as the operation was coordinated with US diplomats and staff who were relocated from the embassy to Hamid Karzai International Airport after the Taliban’s takeover of Kabul.

The insiders claimed that the US House Intelligence Committee was briefed about the evacuation operation via Eagle Base “as lawmakers from both parties were seeking details from the Biden administration about efforts to evacuate Americans from Afghanistan”.

Eagle Base was reportedly demolished on 27 August to ensure that no sensitive equipment or intelligence information would fall into the Taliban’s hands.

Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs Victoria Nuland has meanwhile said that the US government is working to ensure the security of air and land routes before it can proceed with the evacuation of the remaining 200 Americans in Afghanistan.

Earlier, President Joe Biden said his administration is committed to evacuating all US citizens who want to leave Afghanistan, no matter when they decide to do so. POTUS was previously criticised by Washington’s NATO allies over his reluctance to extend the 31 August evacuation deadline.

*The Taliban is a terrorist group banned in Russia and many other countries.