Two members of the US Congress, Reps. Seth Moulton (D-Mass.) and Peter Meijer (R-Mich.), made an unauthorized trip to Afghanistan amid a chaotic evacuation currently underway at the international airport in Kabul.
While Moulton tweeted that the trip’s goal was to “conduct oversight on the evacuation”, and the secrecy was meant to “reduce risks and impact on the mission”, the trip appeared to have angered officials in the Pentagon and in the State Department,
according to The Washington Post
“It’s as moronic as it is selfish,” an anonymous senior administration official told The WaPo. “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.”
The two, however, rejected claims that their trip caused distraction.
“We have been on the other side of this argument while we were serving and it just isn’t accurate,” Moulton and Meijer said, cited by The WaPo.“Trust us: the professionals on the ground are focused on the mission. Many thanked us for coming.”
Moulton also voiced criticism of the “position we put our service members in”, but added that “the acts of heroism and selflessness we witnessed at HKIA make America proud.”
Both congressmen called to extend the 31 August deadline for the withdrawal of foreign troops from the Middle Eastern nation.
The two also insisted that they would leave the country “in a plane that was not full, in a seat designated for crew so that we didn’t take a seat from someone else.”
While Moulton and Meijer declare that more time is needed to complete the evacuation from Afghanistan, US President Joe Biden has noted that Washington is “on pace” to comply with the 31 August deadline although the two US congressmen are not the only ones voicing concern with the date and calling for an extension.
At the Tuesday G7 virtual summit, leaders in London, Berlin, and Paris
were also sharing concern
that more time is needed to safely complete a full evacuation of everyone who wants to leave Afghanistan.
The Taliban* said it would not accept any shift of the deadline, describing it as a “red line” and warning of “consequences” if
foreign troops fail to leave
Afghanistan by the 31 August deadline.
*The Taliban is a terrorist group outlawed in Russia and many other countries