A U.S. Army colonel turned away four busloads of Americans, orphans, and others with verified paperwork guaranteeing safe passage out of Afghanistan, members of a volunteer evacuation team claimed in a new documentary.
The members, comprised of military and security veterans, conducted an evacuation blitz in the final days of U.S. occupation in Afghanistan, rushing to save stranded Americans and other vulnerable groups who qualified before the Taliban took control of the country. The operators said in a new Amazon Prime Video documentary, “Send Me,” that an unnamed U.S. Army colonel “murdered” hundreds of potential evacuees by refusing them spots on flights out of the country because their papers could have been faked, according to the Daily Mail.
Former Army Ranger and MMA fighter Tim Kennedy said the incident took place on August 25, 2021, days before the American withdrawal concluded. Kennedy’s team of highly-skilled specialists had driven four buses filled with hundreds of people through a secret, U.S. military-controlled gate into Kabul’s Hamid Karzai International Airport at 3 a.m.
The evacuees’ documents had been verified, and the group, comprised of Americans, allies, Christians, orphans, and others, was preparing to board a flight out of Afghanistan, which the Taliban controlled by that point. A colonel with the 82nd Airborne met the buses and allegedly demanded they all be sent away.
“No, I don’t care who they are, those people get back on those buses and they go back into Kabul. Get em off this base?” the colonel said, according to Kennedy.
Kennedy said: “There’s not enough capacity in my soul to be able to mourn four busloads of people that are about to die because the time spend (sic) on anguish and mourning could have been spent saving other people.”
Former Force Recon Marine Chad Robichaux, another member of the elite evacuation team, said the colonel had “essentially just killed” the group by sending them back out of the airport in view of the Taliban, which would identify them and hunt them down for working with the Americans.
“Whoever just made the decision to turn this bus around essentially just killed – just murdered – these people. And by the way, some of those people are children,” Robichaux said. “And some of these people were women. But some of these people are Americans, that we just sent back to the Taliban.”
The final days of the 20-year U.S. involvement in Afghanistan ended in chaos and bloodshed. A day after the alleged episode with the Army colonel, an ISIS-affiliated terrorist detonated a suicide bomb outside the airport’s perimeter, killing 13 U.S. service members and hundreds of Afghan civilians.
The U.S. military launched a retaliatory drone strike days later, but mistakenly killed ten civilians, including seven children, instead of an Islamic State operative. The target of the strike ended up being an aid worker who worked for a California-based company.
“So many lives were lost. Today is the anniversary of 13 Americans. Hundreds of Afghans were killed at that gate — a terrorist attack during the evacuation, one of the most poorly planned strategic evacuations in American history,” Kennedy said. “If we’re not learning from this, if we’re not treating this as an opportunity to improve not just strategically, but who we are as a people, making sure that all of our allies look to us and know that we’re going to stand by them all the way to the end, that we are good allies, that we’re good friends.”
“We’re not just going to turn our back and we’re done when it’s no longer a public interest. That we’re going to work all the way through to the final finish line. There are so many important lessons to be learned here,” he said.
The extraction team saved roughly 12,000 people from Afghanistan, the team members said. Another member of the group, Army veteran Nick Palmisciano, recalled the final days of the U.S. withdrawal as desperate Afghans attempted to give their infant children to U.S. soldiers to be taken out of the country.
“It’s impossible to explain the level of desperation people felt” Palmisciano says in the documentary, according to the New York Post. “Just think in the first couple of days people were trying to hang on to the bottom of C-17s. That’s desperation that Americans don’t understand.”