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2 Lawmakers Make Secret Visit To Kabul Airport: 'It Is Obvious' We Started Evacuations 'So Late'

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Two lawmakers made a secret trip to Afghanistan, in which they describe the situation in the capital city of Kabul, amid evacuation efforts.

Reps. Seth Moulton (D-Mass.) and Peter Meijer (R-Mich.) wrote in a joint statement on Tuesday evening that they “conducted this visit in secret, speaking about it only after our departure, to minimize the risk and disruption to the people on the ground, and because we were there to gather information, not to grandstand.”

They added, “After talking with commanders on the ground and seeing the situation here, it is obvious that because we started the evacuation so late, that no matter what we do, we won’t get everyone out on time, even by September 11. Sadly and frustratingly, getting our people out depends on maintaining the current, bizarre relationship with the Taliban.”

The two lawmakers are veterans. They both served in Iraq.

President Joe Biden plans to stick to the Aug. 31 deadline to withdraw U.S. troops from Afghanistan. Lawmakers from both sides have pushed Biden to extend the deadline. This comes amid efforts to get Americans and Afghan allies are out of Afghanistan.

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Moulton also wrote on Twitter, “The world has truly never seen anything like what America is doing in Kabul this week — deeply tragic and highly heroic. Fear and desperation at their worst; hope and humanity at their finest.”

He noted they “insisted on leaving in a plane that was not full, in a seat designated for crew so that we didn’t take a seat from someone else.”

The lawmaker added:

Do you support their secret visit to Kabul?

“Washington should be ashamed of the position we put our service members in, but they represent the best in America. These men and women have been run ragged and are still running strong. Their empathy and dedication to duty are truly inspiring.”

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The two Congress members’ trip was unauthorized. Their trip “infuriated some officials at the Pentagon and the State Department, where diplomats, military officers and civil servants are working around-the-clock shifts in Washington and at the Kabul airport to evacuate thousands of people from the country every day,” The Washington Post reports.

A senior administration official said, “It’s as moronic as it is selfish. They’re taking seats away from Americans and at-risk Afghans — while putting our diplomats and service members at greater risk — so they can have a moment in front of the cameras,” according to the Post.

However, the two lawmakers pushed back, telling the Post in a joint statement, “We have been on the other side of this argument while we were serving and it just isn’t accurate. Trust us: the professionals on the ground are focused on the mission. Many thanked us for coming.”

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) issued a statement on Tuesday, “I write to reiterate that the Departments of Defense and State have requested that Members not travel to Afghanistan and the region during this time of danger.”

She added, “Member travel to the Afghanistan and the surrounding countries would unnecessarily divert needed resources from the priority mission of safely and expeditiously evacuating America [sic] and Afghans at risk in Afghanistan.”

A White House official said, “From August 24 at 3:00 AM EDT to August 25 at 3:00 AM EDT, a total of approximately 19,000 people were evacuated from Kabul. This is the result of 42 US military flights (37 C-17s and 5 C-130s) which carried approximately 11,200 evacuees, and 48 coalition flights which carried 7,800 people,” according to a White House pool report early Wednesday.

The statement continued, “Since August 14, the U.S. has evacuated and facilitated the evacuation of approximately 82,300 people on US military and coalition flights. Since the end of July, we have re-located approximately 87,900 people on US military and coalition flights.”

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