After 20 years of continuous ground presence, the United States withdrew the final troops on the ground in Afghanistan late on Monday night in Kabul. Now, a Republican congressman is reportedly trying to find his way in.
According to the Washington Post, Oklahoma representative Markwayne Mullin called the U.S. ambassador to Tajikistan on Monday, asking for help bringing in a tremendous amount of cash from Tblisi, Georgia, in order to travel to neighboring Afghanistan to rescue via helicopter an American citizen and her four children still in the Taliban-controlled nation. When U.S. officials said no, Mullin threatened Ambassador John Mark Pommersheim and embassy staff. As of Tuesday night, his exact whereabouts were unknown, though after the publication of the report, a spokesperson said he “has been and is currently completely safe.” The statement did not include a clarification on his location.
“To say this is extremely dangerous is a massive understatement,” a State Department official told the Post. According to Secretary of State Antony Blinken, fewer than 200 American citizens who want to leave remain in the country.
Mullin, a critic of the withdrawal, a former MMA fighter, and one of five Native Americans in Congress, is not a veteran — unlike the two representatives, Democrat Seth Moulton and Republican Peter Meijer, who took an unauthorized trip to Kabul last week while U.S. forces still controlled the Hamid Karzai International Airport. The reported extraction plot is not his only attempt to get into Afghanistan: Last week, he flew to Greece and requested Pentagon permission to go to Kabul but was denied. Prior to the end of the military mission in Afghanistan, the departments of Defense and State both urged lawmakers not to travel to Afghanistan; when asked on Tuesday about Mullin’s whereabouts, House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy “went silent and walked off,” according to the Post.
Earlier this year, Mullin helped barricade the House chambers during the Capitol riot, having earlier voted to overturn the results of the 2020 election.
This post has been updated to include a statement from Mullin’s spokesperson given after the Washington Post report was published.