The Taliban grounded six planes on a mission to rescue more than a hundred Americans attempting to flee Afghanistan on Monday, as talks with the State Department continued.
The evacuation effort was part of a mission chartered by Mercury One, the charity founded by Glenn Beck, the founder of TheBlaze.
Newsweek confirmed the details through an NGO working on the evacuation.
According to the report, at least 1,000 people were waiting to board the planes at an airport in the city of Mazar-i-Sharif.
“The planes are currently empty and its passengers are still waiting in their safe houses for clearance for takeoff from the Taliban,” said one NGO official to Newsweek. “I have more than 1,000 people on the master manifest that want to fly, of which 123 are Americans and the rest are Special Immigration Visas.”
Earlier on Sunday, the State Department sent an email to members of Congress informing them of the Taliban talks. According to the email, the planes had permission to land in Doha, Qatar, but only after the Taliban gave them permission to leave.
“The Taliban is basically holding them hostage to get more out of the Americans,” said a congressional source to CBS News.
Republican Rep. Michael McCaul of Texas said Sunday on Fox News that the Taliban had the Americans in a hostage situation.
“In fact we have six airplanes at Mazar-i-Sharif airport, six airplanes, with American citizens on them as I speak, also with these interpreters, and the Taliban is holding them hostage for demands right now,” McCaul said. “State has cleared these flights, and the Taliban will not let them leave the airport.”
Glenn Beck had raised more than $22 million in donations and from his radio audience to fund the mission to rescue Christians, Americans, and Afghan allies from the Taliban-controlled country.