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"We Won't Get Everyone Out, Even By Sept. 11" - Congressmen Share Dire Warning After Secret Fact-Finding Mission To Kabul

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by Tyler Durden
Wednesday, Aug 25, 2021 - 10:41 AM

A pair of Congressmen - one Democrat and one Republican - has managed to piss off the White House, Pentagon, State Department and the Democratic Congressional leadership after hitching a ride to Kabul for an "unannounced and unauthorized" visit.

Democrat Rep. Seth Moulton and Republican Rep. Peter Meijer said they chartered a plane to Kabul airport and stayed there for several hours on Tuesday as part of what they described as a "fact-finding" mission.

The lawmakers - both of whom served tours in Iraq before running for office - confirmed the visit in a joint statement on Tuesday, describing their trip as "secret" and saying they were there to conduct "oversight" on the efforts to evacuate Americans and allies.

In a  lengthy twitter thread, Moulton shared his dire assessment of the situation: "we won't get everyone out in time, not even by Sept. 11". We imagine that's the last thing the Biden Administration wants the public to hear.

Read the full thread below (courtesy of @sethmoulton):

Today with @RepMeijer I visited Kabul airport to conduct oversight on the evacuation.

Witnessing our young Marines and soldiers at the gates, navigating a confluence of humanity as raw and visceral as the world has ever seen, was indescribable.

It’s a reminder of why America’s values—when we live up to them—matter to people all over the world.

I’ve never talked to more public servants, from salty Marines to the most seasoned State Department officials, who came to tears describing their work.

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.

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.

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.

The acts of heroism and selflessness we witnessed at HKIA make America proud.

We came into this visit wanting, like most veterans, to push the president to extend the August 31st deadline. 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.

In the coming days we'll have more to share with our colleagues & the American people about what we learned, but after meeting Marines, soldiers, & dedicated State Dept. officials on the ground—we want the world to know first & foremost we have never been prouder to be Americans.

The Associated Press was the first media organization to report on the reaction to the lawmakers' trip, claiming three officials from inside the State Department saying the White House had been "enraged" by the members' decision to take a day trip to Afghanistan. The lawmakers didn't work with any diplomats or military officials, and thus may have placed their own safety at risk. They also risked further embarrassment for the Biden Administration, for reasons that should be self-evident.

The military didn't even find out about the visit until the legislators' aircraft was en route to Kabul, according to the officials. The officials spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss ongoing military operations.

Another "senior" Biden Administration official told the AP that, as he saw it, the lawmakers’ visit to Kabul was "manifestly unhelpful." Several other officials accused the lawmakers of creating a distraction during one of the most complicated post-war extractions in American history. Troops at the airport are waging a "race against time" to evacuate thousands of Americans, at-risk Afghans and others as quickly as possible.

The Pentagon found out about the visit as the legislators’ aircraft was inbound to Kabul, according to the officials. The officials spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss ongoing military operations.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi explicitly told lawmakers via a statement Tuesday evening that "the Departments of Defense and State have requested that Members not travel to Afghanistan and the region during this time of danger. Ensuring the safe and timely evacuation of individuals at risk requires the full focus and attention of the U.S. military and diplomatic teams on the ground in Afghanistan."

She claimed that the reason for restricting visits was due to "security threats" including by members of ISIS (but not, oddly, by Taliban fighters themselves).

As the evacuation effort continues, France is reportedly preparing to wind down its evacuation operation on Thursday, several days before the Aug. 31 deadline (so much for all that foreign pressure to extend the deadline) while British troops are expected to leave for the last time on Friday or Saturday.

Meanwhile, the US evacuation effort drags on. According to the latest official numbers released Wednesday morning, the US has evacuated 19K people from Kabul over the last 24 hours.

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