MP Kohsar/AFP via Getty Images
Veterans and Representatives Seth Moulton, a Massachusetts Democrat, and Peter Major, a Michigan Republican, traveled to Kabul “secretly” on Tuesday, infuriating Biden administration officials.
Members of Congress are now casting doubt on the August 31 withdrawal deadline set by the Biden administration.
“As members of Congress, it is our duty to provide oversight to the executive branch. There is no place in the world right now where oversight is more important,” Moulton and Major said in a joint statement on Tuesday.
The trip was criticized by a US State Department official, who said of the members of Congress: “They have chosen to put themselves, members of our forces, and our diplomats at greater risk — all while potentially denying those in need a seat to safety.”
The Associated Press, which First travel reportHe added that other officials in the Biden administration were “furious” about the trip.
Moulton and Major defended their travel to Afghanistan.
“We conducted this visit in secret and did not talk about it until after we left to reduce the risks and disturbances to people on the ground, and because we were there to gather information and not to stand on the surface,” their statement said. “We left on a plane with empty seats, and sat in the cabin crew seats just to ensure that no one who needed a seat would lose out because of our presence.”
today with Tweet embed I visited Kabul airport to oversee the evacuation.
Watching our young Marines and soldiers at the gates, navigating a human rendezvous like the world had never seen before, was indescribable. pic.twitter.com/bWGQh1iw2c
– Seth Moulton August 25, 2021
The members of Congress added, “After speaking with leaders on the ground and seeing the situation here, it is clear that we started the evacuation process very late, and no matter what we do, we will not get everyone out on time, even by September 11. Unfortunately and frustratingly, the evacuation of our people depends on maintaining the current peculiar relationship with the Taliban.”
Earlier Tuesday, President Biden said The United States is on track to leave by the August 31 deadline.
The Taliban, who forcibly seized Afghanistan last week, said they would not extend the US blessing beyond the end of August, and that if troops remained in the country beyond that date, there would be unspecified consequences.
NPR’s Michelle Kleiman contributed to this report.