One of the officials also revealed that US special operations forces set up a “secret gate” at the airport and established “call centers” to guide Americans through the evacuation process.
The officials said Americans were notified to gather at pre-set “muster points” close to the airport where the Taliban would gather the Americans, check their credentials and take them a short distance to a gate manned by American forces who were standing by to let them inside amid huge crowds of Afghans seeking to flee.
The US troops were able to see the Americans approach with their Taliban escorts in most cases in an attempt to ensure their safety.
The officials spoke on the condition of anonymity due to the sensitivity of the arrangements, which have not been disclosed until now because the US was concerned about Taliban reaction to any publicity as well as the threat of attacks from ISIS-K if its operatives had realized Americans were being escorted in groups, the officials said.
Throughout the evacuation, Biden administration officials stressed that the Taliban was cooperating and senior officials stated they had committed to provide “safe passage” for Americans.
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