Task Force Pineapple is a task force set up by a volunteer group of U.S. veterans to evacuate American citizens, as well as Afghan allies and their families, following the Taliban’s takeover of Afghanistan.[1] As of 30 August 2021, the group had evacuated over 1,000 refugees.[2]



Task Force Pineapple was founded on 15 August 2021 by Scott Mann, a retired Green Beret,[3] to rescue an Afghan commando he had served with.[4] The commando was receiving death threats from the Taliban for having served alongside SEAL Team Six for a dozen years.[5] After rescuing the commando and his family of six, the group began planning to rescue more people.[6]

Communicating with each other via an encrypted chat room, a group of 50 Task Force Pineapple members collaborated with U.S. Special Forces and the U.S. embassy[7] to rescue 500 more people on August 25 in a mission called "Pineapple Express".[8][9] The slow and steady system of maneuvering the Afghan families in the darkness was modeled after the Underground Railroad.[5] In order to confirm their identities, the refugees (referred to by the group as "passengers") had to show the volunteers a picture of yellow pineapples on a pink background.[10] Task Force Pineapple members acted as "conductors"; they were led by former Green Beret Captain Zac Lois, who was the group's "engineer".[5]

The group was planning the next stage of its week-long rescue operation when the suicide bombings at the Hamid Karzai International Airport occurred. Several of the task force's refugees were injured in the bomb blast or went missing.[11] As of 30 August 2021, the group had evacuated over 1,000 refugees.[2]


  1. ^ "Syracuse teacher, a retired Green Beret, helps evacuate Afghan allies". syracuse. 2021-08-28. Retrieved 2021-08-31.
  2. ^ a b Norman, Greg (2021-08-30). "Task Force Pineapple: New York teacher, an ex-Green Beret, among US vets assisting Afghanistan evacuations". Fox News. Retrieved 2021-08-31.
  3. ^ "'Amerikaanse veteranen redden 500 Afghanen uit Kabul tijdens geheime operatie'". Telegraaf (in Dutch). 2021-08-27. Retrieved 2021-08-31.
  4. ^ "U.S. Veterans Escort Hundreds of Afghan Allies to Airport for Evacuation in Daring Operation". National Review. 2021-08-27. Retrieved 2021-08-31.
  5. ^ a b c Meek, James Gordon. "US special operations vets carry out daring mission to save Afghan allies". ABC News. Retrieved 2021-08-31.
  6. ^ "Veteran US Special Forces working to rescue Afghans". The Jerusalem Post | JPost.com. Retrieved 2021-08-31.
  7. ^ Alexander Ward. "Conservatives are backing Afghanistan's resistance movement". POLITICO. Retrieved 2021-08-31.
  8. ^ Zitser, Joshua. "Special Ops veterans' secret mission to rescue 500 Afghans in Kabul rivaled a 'Jason Bourne thriller,' commander says". Business Insider. Retrieved 2021-08-31.
  9. ^ Brown, Lee (2021-08-27). "'Pineapple Express': US vets volunteer to secretly rescue allies in Afghanistan". New York Post. Retrieved 2021-08-31.
  10. ^ "Veteran group says it moved 630 Afghans to Kabul airport: Report". www.aljazeera.com. Retrieved 2021-08-31.
  11. ^ "Veterans carry out secret 'Pineapple Express' mission and smuggle out 500 Afghans". The Independent. 2021-08-27. Archived from the original on 2022-05-26. Retrieved 2021-08-31.