In a previous article, I mentioned that there were "private", unofficial operations going on to extricate former allies and trapped Americans from Afghanistan. In a later update, I added more information. I guess it's time for another progress report, at least the details I'm allowed to mention.
It appears that the Afghan pilots who flew their aircraft to safety in Uzbekistan have been accommodated in the United Arab Emirates, at least for now, getting them out of reach of the Taliban. In my last article, I mentioned that "One [nation] in particular, in the Persian Gulf area, has a long tradition of hiring mercenaries for its armed forces, and is apparently very interested" in the refugee Afghan military personnel. Yes, that was the UAE, and now that news reports have named the country, I feel free to do so here too. It's apparently also interested in the US-trained Afghan Special Forces soldiers who've been able to make their escape. I daresay we may see a "UAE Foreign Legion" or something like that in due course. (Interestingly, a similar approach is being considered in Britain.)
In a discussion in the comments to my last article, I replied to inquiries about making donations to help the rescue efforts by saying I'd post something two Mondays ago. Sadly, I wasn't able to do so at the time. There are three reasons:
- There are massive fraudulent fund-raising efforts going on, with people claiming to represent "Operation Pineapple" or other "operations", claiming to want to fund the rescue of abandoned dogs, and so on. I didn't want to get lumped in with them in anyone's mind. Basically, if you don't have absolute certainty that the fund-raising request is legitimate (e.g. from Michael Yon or other trustworthy individuals), don't donate.
- There's immense US government pressure on the independent rescue efforts. I'm told the State Department is not only blocking the departure of rescue planes from Afghanistan, but is actively warning other nations about the impending arrival (in transit to Afghanistan) of Americans it deems suspicious. (That's what led to the arrest of several rescue "operators" in Dubai.) This is impacting fund-raising efforts for "real deal" operators, because they fear (with good reason) that any funds going through banks will be traced back to their source, and forward to their recipient, and that such information will be used against all concerned.
- There are, indeed, fund-raising efforts going on; but they're dealing in cash, with trusted individuals only, and being circulated by word of mouth. I can't offer any guarantees, warranties or assurances about funds sent in that way - it's strictly on an honor basis, with the donor having to take the word of the recipient that the money will be appropriately used. I can't offer my guarantee on behalf of someone else, so I'm not doing a broad-based fund-raiser for them. (I considered organizing another firearm raffle for them, but the same problems would apply.) There are always those who'll distrust others and question their motives. Any assistance I provide is therefore private, and I include only individuals whom I know personally, who've contacted me on their own initiative and asked to help. They know me well enough to trust me, and I'm satisfied with that.
There's also interesting information about internal developments. There's apparently some sort of power struggle going on within the Taliban, with different tribal and ethnic groups trying to carve out niches for themselves at the expense of the Pashtuns who've traditionally run the movement. This has degenerated into armed conflict at times, with at least one senior Taliban leader allegedly being shot (although the Taliban have denied that he's dead). Relief workers on the ground are said to be taking every advantage of the confusion and in-fighting to get people out of the country while Taliban forces are distracted. I daresay they might even be encouraging the internal dissent through discreet s***-stirring. I can recall similar tactics in another war, on another continent . . .
I can't say any more in a public forum. All I know is, if anyone ever writes a book about this (and it won't be me), it'll be riveting!