The Biden administration continually tried to assure Americans that the Taliban was cooperating with the U.S. during its withdrawal from Afghanistan over the last few weeks after the group took Kabul. Now, citing two U.S. defense officials, CNN reports that the U.S. military struck a deal with the Taliban that led to the latter escorting Americans to the gates of Hamid Karzai International Airport during that time.
The plan was kept under wraps because Washington was concerned about how the Taliban would react to any publicity and because of security threats posed by the Islamic State in Afghanistan, the officials said. But the escort missions apparently happened "several times a day" throughout the evacuation process, and one official said the arrangement "worked beautifully." U.S. forces were reportedly able to observe the Americans who were accompanied by the Taliban approach the airport.
While the strategy may have proved successful in several cases, there were still many reports of the Taliban blocking American citizens and Afghans who aided the U.S. military from getting into the airport. Per The New York Times, some evacuation hopefuls reported to U.S.-based relief organizations that members of the Taliban confiscated their American passports at checkpoints. Read more at CNN and The New York Times.