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For these Marines, a constant rush to zero hour to rescue stranded Americans

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For the last few weeks, Lt. Col. Jonathon Myers, a retired Marine intelligence officer, conducted a sleepless and exhaustive effort to get American citizens and green card holders connected with Marines in Afghanistan out of the country before the Aug. 31 withdrawal deadline.

On Monday afternoon, that mission went from dire and dangerous to clandestine for the hundreds of U.S. citizens and thousands of green card holders and journalists left stranded when the last military plane exited the airport in Kabul.

“The situation as of Monday is gut-wrenching,” said Myers. The Virginia native was part of the American response to the terrorist attacks in Benghazi and the rescue of Capt. Scott O'Grady from Bosnia.

Myers's last assignment before he retired last year was as an intelligence officer under Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Gen. Mark Milley.

Myers has been working with two other retired Marines, Katy Garroway of Maryland and Rico Reyes of Texas. In the final grim 12 hours in Kabul, no matter what anyone in military leadership or President Joe Biden said, no Americans who reached the airport were able to get out, Myers said.

“Within that last 12 hours, I had four buses of American citizens outside the gate," he said. "They were mostly pregnant women and babies, including a child with spina bifida, just all packed together waiting at the gate.”

Myers said his team paid off the Taliban with a big bribe to allow their buses to go through. “They got to the gate, and there was an aid organization that was supposed to meet us with representatives, with the rosters, and to tell the Taliban to expect them.”

The aid organization didn’t show up.

“I, in panic mode, called, and called, and called all my Marine networks, I got the number for one of the top commanders down there explained the situation and we got in a big argument when he told me the Taliban makes the calls down here,” said Myers.

They never got out.

No Americans were able to get out on the last five jets to leave Afghanistan, as Gen. Frank McKenzie, head of the U.S. Central Command, confirmed on Tuesday. He said that Americans tried desperately to get to the Kabul airport for the final evacuations but could not.


© Washington Examiner

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