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Local veterans help get Afghans out without leaving the US

"Task Force Pineapple" assisted more than 600 Afghans in leaving the country.

CHESAPEAKE, Va. — The United States military, in 17 days, got more than 124,000 civilians out of Afghanistan before the August 31 troop withdrawal deadline.

But they simply couldn't get everybody.

That's where Task Force Pineapple stepped in.

The volunteer group of current and former U.S. special warfare operators, aid workers, intelligence officers, and others with experience in Afghanistan pulled together to map evacuation routes, help Afghans around Taliban checkpoints, and coordinate with the U.S. military on the ground to get trapped people out.

Starting back on August 25, they succeeded in bringing more than 600 Afghan "high-risk individuals" and their families into the Hamid Karzai International Airport when it was still open.

And they did it all from back here at home - with computers, and working the phones, a virtual underground railroad - without ever setting foot in Afghanistan themselves

"It is the marvel of modern technology that has enabled us to do this," said retired Navy SEAL Jason Redman of Chesapeake.

He has been working with Task Force Pineapple to help the very people who helped him back in the day.

"They are high risk," he said. "They actively went after Taliban with us on missions. Some of them worked in different roles, but, individuals that the Taliban has a very high vendetta and wants them."

Redman said Task Force Pineapple is not currently working to get people out and is awaiting guidance from the State Department as far as any next moves.

President Joseph R. Biden said this week that 100 to 200 Americans remain in Afghanistan.

As many as 80,000 to 100,000 at-risk Afghans may remain in the country.