Amid the ongoing evacuation efforts in Afghanistan, Tim Kennedy – a Green Beret, Special Forces sniper, and Army ranger – spoke to Fox News about his experience in Kabul after rescuing more than 8,900 people and discussed the “horrors of people going to the airport”.
“We had a very clear mission that we were trying to identify and get out of and American citizens were number one,” said Kennedy, who spent three days in the country helping evacuation missions and working for “Identify high-value Taliban targets. who needed to be rescued.”
“It was a landscape and a battlefield that I had never experienced before and it was absolute chaos,” Kennedy told Fox News.
Kennedy also reflected on when a suicide bombing attack occurred outside the Abbey Gate at Kabul Airport, which killed 13 U.S. servicemen and injured at least 18 others, U.S. officials said.
“I was in a C-17 full of Afghans when the bomb went off,” Kennedy said. “You can’t stop. You’re on a plane with the lives of 500 people right there. The crew was amazing and we were just focused on [completing the mission]. “
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“The horrors of people arriving at the airport are beyond description,” Kennedy added, describing how “dangerous it is to get them through the gates as hundreds of thousands of people try to make their way.”
Kennedy’s service in Afghanistan was spent primarily with three other men, one of whom “lost 37 pounds in 10 days” as evacuation efforts grew more intense. With Kennedy’s participation, the rescue group had 60 years of combined experience.
“We didn’t sleep, we didn’t eat,” Kennedy said, describing covert efforts to “smuggle people through the Taliban and to the US base.”
According to Kennedy, the process of identifying and screening those rescued was “more complex than that of the State Department or the Department of Defense.”
“Finding them is a big deal, getting them up is a big deal,” Kennedy said, describing a case where he had to alter his plans to avoid armed Taliban observers.
“By the time I got to the ground we were scouting for a new line of rats, a place we were planning that night to try and get more people through and as I turned around the corner, I look up over a building and there is a Taliban listening post / observation post with trained observers watching the airfield trying to identify the whereabouts of all the American forces. “
“They had a sniper rifle up there and obviously their job was to prepare to kill the American forces and the Afghans who were trying to get out,” Kennedy added, saying the operation had to be moved from. a few hundred yards behind another building so these guys don’t shoot us. “
Kennedy said a “variety of people,” including American citizens, Christians, orphans, pilots and teachers, were rescued during the missions.
Thinking back to one evacuation mission in particular, Kennedy said those rescued by him and other Special Forces men were loaded onto buses and as they “were trying to get these people through it. ‘one of the checkpoints, the crowd started to rush in and it turned into a disaster. “
Kennedy, also a former American mixed martial artist, said the things you “wouldn’t want to happen in your worst nightmare” happened “right in front of” him and his group, describing the flashbangs and the sounds of “exploding bullets.” “. as well as “people beaten and trampled to death” and “babies hanging on concertina wire”.
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“It’s really horrible,” Kennedy said of what he witnessed as he helped rescue efforts for 8,911 people.
Asked about his thoughts on ISIS-K, which claimed responsibility for the suicide bombing at Kabul airport, Kennedy said: “ISIS-K and the Taliban are the same.”
“The distinction between the two, when you look at who ISIS-K is, it is the original founders of the Taliban Mujahedin… it is the radical Islamic wing of the Taliban,” Kennedy said. “ISIS-K is a branch of the Taliban. They are the same people.… The assumption that you can tell the two apart is ludicrous. They are different feathers from the same bird.”
Kennedy also described the Taliban’s efforts to hunt down their enemies and kill them before they were evacuated from the country.
“The Taliban wanted everyone entering Kabul airport to go through the entrance to the south gate where they had a checkpoint and they could check everyone who was arriving and if it was one of theirs. High-value targets, they wouldn’t let you in… they’ll just kill you, ”Kennedy said.
Kennedy called his team leader and teammates “extraordinary” and said everyone he and his group had rescued had been smuggled past the Taliban in order to avoid more “deaths on the streets” .