US officials thwarted a Republican congressman’s attempts to conduct freelance rescue missions in Afghanistan: report

Rep. Markwayne Mullin, R-Okla., speaks during a House Intelligence Committee hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington, Thursday, April 15, 2021
Rep. Markwayne Mullin, R-Okla., speaks during a House Intelligence Committee hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington, Thursday, April 15, 2021 Al Drago/Pool via AP
  • US officials thwarted a GOP lawmaker’s repeated attempts to get to Afghanistan, per The Washington Post.
  • Rep. Markwayne Mullin tried on Monday to conduct a dangerous rescue mission in the country.
  • Mullin was “outraged” when officials at the US Embassy in Tajikistan refused to help him, per the Post.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

US officials from the state and defense departments have thwarted multiple attempts by GOP Rep. Markwayne Mullin to conduct dangerous freelance rescue missions in Afghanistan, The Washington Post reported on Tuesday.

The US officially completed its military withdrawal from the country on Monday, with the final US Air Force C-17s taking off with US military and diplomatic personnel at 11:59 p.m. – one minute before President Joe Biden’s August 31 deadline.

Mullin, for his part, reached out to the US Embassy in Tajikistan on Monday to request their assistance with a plan he hatched to fly from Georgia to Tajikistan with a large amount of cash. The Oklahoma lawmaker wanted to use his funds to then enter Afghanistan and rent a helicopter to rescue an American family who didn’t make it out of the country in time, per The Post.

Mullin was “outraged” and threatened US officials in Tajikistan upon learning that they wouldn’t help him skirt the country’s limits on the amount of cash people are allowed to enter with, according to The Post.

Meanwhile, Afghanistan is now under a level 4 travel advisory from the State Department “due to civil unrest, armed conflict, crime, terrorism, kidnapping, and COVID-19. “

Mullin’s failed effort to get into Afghanistan via Georgia and Tajikistan follows a similarly unsuccessful attempt just last week when the Department of Defense blocked him from traveling to Afghanistan via Greece, The Post reported.

While Mullin’s whereabouts were unknown when The Post initially published its story, a spokesperson for the congressman later confirmed that Mullin “has been and is currently safe,” adding that his office would “continue to do anything in our power to bring home all Americans from the war zone that President Biden abandoned.”

Read more: 
The 11 best staff Twitter accounts on Capitol Hill, featuring the snarkiest, chartiest, and foodiest commentary around

In a Wednesday Instagram post, Mullin announced he was “heading home.”

“Have we been helping get Americans out of Afghanistan, yes. Is the mission continuing, yes. Am I missing, no. Did I go dark for a little, yes because it wasn’t safe to be communicating,” he wrote in the caption. “Am I extremely disappointed in how we (United States) left Americans behind… that would be an understatement.”

The Post reported that Mullin’s persistent attempts have “alarmed top U.S. officials who say he has gone to extraordinary lengths to defy U.S. warnings.”

The new revelations about Mullin’s efforts follow Democratic Rep. Seth Moulton and GOP Rep. Peter Meijer’s unapproved trip to Kabul airport on August 24. The lawmakers, both US veterans, were criticized for their unsanctioned jaunt at the height of the US military’s frantic efforts to evacuate American citizens and Afghan allies.

But Moulton and Meijer defended their trip, saying that they were trying to “conduct oversight” of the US’s evacuation efforts.

US officials described their trip as “selfish” and a major distraction to the evacuation efforts at the time, per The Post. Both House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy warned their members against such trips, but McCarthy also expressed sympathy over the congressmen’s frustration with the Afghanistan withdrawal.

Pelosi issued another firm warning against members attempting to travel to Afghanistan after the August 26 suicide bombing at Hamid Karzai International Airport that killed 13 US service members and nearly 170 Afghan civilians. ISIS-K, the Islamic State affiliate in the region, claimed responsibility for the attack.

“It should be clear that any Member presence presents a danger and an opportunity cost of resources, regardless of whatever value that Members consider they may add by such trips,” she said.