Washington Post: GOP congressman threatened US embassy staff in trying to enter Afghanistan

Washington Post: GOP congressman threatened US embassy staff in trying to enter Afghanistan
Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call/AP

Republican Rep. Markwayne Mullin threatened US embassy staff in Tajikistan, outraged that they would not assist him in carrying a huge amount of money through the country as he attempted to travel to Afghanistan for an unauthorized evacuation effort, The Washington Post reported.

The Post reported that Mullin called the US embassy in Tajikistan on Monday, informing them that he would be flying from the country of Georgia to Tajikistan’s capital of Dushanbe within hours and wanted help in transporting a large sum of cash, the Post reported.

The Oklahoma congressman told the embassy that he planned to rescue five US citizens, a woman and her four children, from Afghanistan by hiring a helicopter, two US officials told the newspaper.

Embassy officials denied Mullin’s request, saying they could not help him bypass Tajikistan’s currency restrictions on his way to Afghanistan, the Post reported.

Upset by the response he received, Mullin then threatened the top diplomat, Ambassador John Mark Pommersheim, and embassy staff, according to the Post.

As of late Tuesday, US officials told the Post that they were unsure of Mullin’s whereabouts.

Mullin “has been and is currently completely safe,” his spokeswoman, Meredith Blanford, said in a statement sent out Tuesday night, without elaborating on his current location.

Mullin posted on his Instagram early Wednesday morning that he was not missing, but did “go dark for a little, yes because it wasn’t safe to be communicating.”

“Have we been helping get Americans out of Afghanistan, yes. Is the mission continuing, yes,” he wrote.

Blanford said Mullin and his congressional office “will continue to do anything in our power to bring home all Americans from the war zone that President (Joe) Biden abandoned. The safety and security of the American people will always be his top priority.”

“We have no further comment at this time,” she added.

CNN has reached out to the State Department and Mullin’s office for further comment. The State Department declined to comment to the Post regarding Mullin’s travel or interactions with the Tajikistan embassy.

The incident was Mullin’s second attempt to try and reach Afghanistan, the Post noted.

The Republican lawmaker had traveled to Greece last week and asked the Pentagon for permission to enter Kabul, but his request was denied, according to the Post.

Two other congressmen — Reps. Seth Moulton, a Democrat from Massachusetts, and Peter Meijer, a Republican from Michigan — made an unauthorized visit to Afghanistan last week as the US hurried to evacuate Americans and its allies, prompting sharp criticism from their colleagues.

The two Iraq War veterans said they flew to Kabul “to conduct oversight” of the US’ evacuation mission. The pair flew out of Afghanistan on a military plane.

Before their trip was disclosed, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi had discouraged members from traveling to Afghanistan, arguing that such travel “would unnecessarily divert needed resources” from the evacuation efforts. The Defense Department also advised against “VIP visits” to Afghanistan.

On Monday, the last US military planes departed Afghanistan, marking the end of a fraught, chaotic and bloody exit from the United States’ longest war.

“This is a sad day for our country,” Mullin said in a statement Monday. “Americans have been stranded in Afghanistan by the Biden Administration and are now left to defend themselves from terrorists overrunning the country. One motto of our military is ‘leave no man behind.’ But today, that’s exactly what President Biden did.”

An estimated 100 to 200 Americans remain in Afghanistan who have some intention of leaving, Biden said in remarks Tuesday. He added that most are dual citizens or longtime residents who decided to stay in the country because of their family ties.

The State Department said it would continue to assist US citizens and their families in Afghanistan from Doha, Qatar.

The department on Tuesday issued a travel advisory, warning Americans not to travel to Afghanistan “due to civil unrest, armed conflict, crime, terrorism, kidnapping, and COVID-19.”

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