Two US congressmen secretly traveled to Afghanistan to “supervise” the evacuation from that country led by Washington, which has angered the Biden administration because they had to provide security and took seats on military planes.
Democratic legislator Seth Moulton confirmed on his Twitter account on Tuesday that he traveled with his Republican colleague Peter Meijer to Afghanistan with the intention, like most veterans, to “pressure” President Joe Biden to extend the evacuation deadline. of Americans, Afghan citizens and foreigners.
The newspaper The Washington Post revealed that the trip was not authorized and that the congressmen arrived in Kabul early Tuesday morning and left less than 24 hours later. Three officials with knowledge of the flight quoted by AP said the State Department, Defense Department and the White House were furious at the incident because it was carried out without coordination with diplomats or military commanders who were directing the evacuation.
The US military learned of the visit as the plane carrying the lawmakers was heading to Kabul, according to officials. The same sources indicated that the Biden administration described the visit as “useless” and that it was considered a distraction for the troops who are starring at the airport in a race against time to evacuate thousands of Americans and Afghans at risk, an operation that should conclude on the 31st. of August.
“Because we started the evacuation so late, no matter what we do, we won’t get everyone out in time, not even for 9/11,” warned Moulton, who served in Iraq like Meijer.
He noted that getting US personnel out of Afghanistan “sadly and frustratingly” depends on maintaining “the current strange relationship with the Taliban.”
“Washington should be ashamed of the position in which we place our service members,” complained the congressman, from the same party as President Biden.
Nancy Pelosi, Speaker of the House of Representatives, has written a letter criticizing the trip. “Trips by members of the House to Afghanistan and neighboring countries would unnecessarily divert necessary resources from the priority mission of safely and rapidly evacuating Americans and Afghans at risk from Afghanistan,” he wrote.
Moulton pointed out in his message thread that they went on a plane that was “not full” and used designated seats for the crew so as not to take someone else’s place.
The two congressmen flew to the United Arab Emirates on a commercial flight at their own expense and there “they discovered a way to take an empty military flight” to Kabul, Moulton’s spokesman Tim Biba said in an email to the Post.
The US has accelerated the process of evacuating its nationals and allies in Afghanistan due to the rapid seizure of power by the Taliban, who took control of Kabul on August 15.