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Saturday December 04, 2021

US lawmakers violate orders with trip to Kabul during airlift

By AFP
August 26, 2021
US lawmakers violate orders with trip to Kabul during airlift

WASHINGTON: Two US congressmen have revealed that they violated official orders to travel to Kabul during the chaotic airlift that has seen the United States and allies try to evacuate tens of thousands of people fleeing the Taliban.The revelation by Democratic congressman Seth Moulton and his Republican colleague Peter Meijer prompted an angry statement from the Democratic leader of the House of Representatives Nancy Pelosi on Tuesday.

"Today with @RepMeijer I visited Kabul airport to conduct oversight on the evacuation," said Moulton. The two men are veterans of the Iraq war. "We did this visit in secret to reduce risks and impact on the mission and we 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," Moulton continued on Twitter late Tuesday. More than 80,000 people have been evacuated since August 14, the day before the Taliban took control of Kabul and seized power in Afghanistan.

But huge crowds remain outside Kabul airport, with countless others hiding in the city and elsewhere in the country still hoping to flee the threat of reprisals and repression under the Islamists´ new regime.

The two representatives flew to the Middle East on their own and then travelled on a military plane from a US-allied country to Kabul, all without coordinating with US diplomats or military command, American media reported.

“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,” Moulton tweeted.

“We were not aware of this visit, and we are obviously not encouraging VIP visits to a very tense, dangerous and dynamic situation,” Pentagon spokesman John Kirby told a press conference Wednesday.