Washington (AP) — Two lawmakers flew to Kabul Airport without notice during an ongoing chaotic evacuation on Tuesday. The State Department and U.S. military officials had to divert resources to provide legislators with security and information.
Officials said Seth Moulton (Republican) and Peter Meijer (Republican) were on the ground on a charter plane. At Kabul Airport A few hours. As a result, officials complained that other Americans and Afghans could take seats that were supposed to flee the country, but parliamentarians said in a joint statement that they would definitely leave for a vacant plane.
“As members of the House of Representatives, we have a duty to oversee the government,” the two said in a statement. “We were there to minimize the risk and confusion to the people on earth, and we were there to gather information, so we talked about it only after departure and secretly this I made a visit.
Army veteran Meyer served in Iraq and later worked with non-governmental organizations in Afghanistan to help provide emergency assistance to assist workers after kidnapping and targeted killings. rice field. Moulton served in the Iraqi Marine Corps.
Two flight-savvy officials said the State Department, Pentagon, and White House officials were furious at the incident because it took place without coordination with diplomats or military commanders ordering evacuation.
Miserable video: Shootout, family with crying children at Kabul Airport
more: The chaos of Kabul Airport raises questions about US evacuation efforts
The U.S. military has a parliamentary aircraft Inbound to Kabul, According to the authorities. Authorities discussed ongoing military operations, subject to anonymity.
One U.S. official said the administration saw the legislator’s visit as apparently useless, and other officials said the visit was to evacuate thousands of Americans and endangered Afghans. Others said as soon as possible that they were considered distracting for airport troops and commanders fighting time.
Speaker Nancy Pelosi said Tuesday evening, noting some lawmakers’ desire to visit Afghanistan, he wrote: dangerous. Ensuring the safe and timely evacuation of endangered individuals requires the full focus and attention of US military and diplomatic teams on the ground in Afghanistan. “
The Pentagon has repeatedly expressed concern about Kabul’s security threats, including those by Islamic State groups. When lawmakers routinely go to war zones over the last two decades, their visits are usually long-planned and coordinated with field officials to ensure their safety.
What’s New in Afghanistan: Biden says the United States “at a pace” about the withdrawal on August 31st.Taliban blocks Afghanistan from the airport
President Joe Biden said on Tuesday that he was adhering to his August 31 deadline to complete dangerous airlift as people fled Afghanistan under Taliban control. He said the main reason for the deadline was the ongoing threat of IS targeting airports. Afghan affiliates of the Islamic State group are known for conducting suicide bombings on civilians.
“I want to encourage the president to extend the August 31 deadline,” the two lawmakers said during their visit. Talking to the on-site commander and looking at the situation here, it is clear that the evacuation started too late and no matter what we do, not everyone will be out on time by September 11. “
This article was originally published in USA TODAY: Two lawmakers fly to Kabul in a chaotic evacuation