OKLAHOMA – U.S. Congressman Markwayne Mullin (OK-02), a member of the intelligence committee, blames the U.S. Department of State for taking credit for a ground rescue in Afghanistan that his team launched.
Last month Rep. Mullin launched an unauthorized, rogue rescue into the war-torn country without the approval of the U.S. Dept. of State. His ambition was saving a woman named Mariam along with her three children. Mullin told CNN that Mariam is from Amarillo, Texas and is an American citizen.
A few weeks ago, the Oklahoma representative said his office received a message requesting that he would help the family escape. Mullin said he reached out to contractors who still had people working in the region of Afghanistan where Mariam and her kids were located. He added that his team partnered with a group named The Sentinel Foundation. Mullin said the organization is non-political and that “they do this stuff [rescue missions] all the time.”
According to the Foundation’s website, “The Sentinel Foundation was founded with one goal in mind – to end underage children being exploited around the world,” and that it “focuses on targeting elusive child traffickers that use highly skilled methods to find and exploit their victims.”
Initially, their plans were to fly into Afghanistan, rescue Mariam, her children and other Americans who had been ‘left behind.’
However, Mullin said his team’s intentions were derailed by the State Department’s refusal to give him and his team’s permission to intervene.
Biden said no Americans would be left behind who were wanting to get out of Afghanistan
President Joe Biden recently claimed that “90% of Americans in Afghanistan who wanted to leave were able to leave.”
The president’s administration said they are committed to getting the rest of Americans out and have a plan. “Secretary of State Blinken is leading the continued diplomatic efforts to ensure safe passage for any American, Afghan partner or foreign national who wants to leave Afghanistan.”
Not All Americans made it to Kabul International Airport in time
Last month, President Biden told ABC News that no Americans would be stranded.
“And so, when the administration says that every American that wanted out could get out, that’s an absolute lie because we’re working with 27 AMCITS, American citizens, right now that I assure you all of them wanted out, and we couldn’t get them out,” Mullins told CNN’s Brianna Keilar.
According to a fact check conducted by the Associated Press, Gen. Frank McKenzie, who’s head of U.S. Central Command, stated that not all Americans were able to make it to the Kabul airport during the final evacuation. McKenzie said that there were no Americans on the five final flights that left Afghanistan.
The recent take over of the country’s capital city of Kabul by Taliban fighters made getting to the airport difficult.
Kabul international airport became the site of terrorists bombings where 13 Americans were recently killed along with 90 Afghans at an entry gate.
Mullins Accuses U.S. Dept of State of taking credit for the rescue
“We found ourselves not being able to get her out through HKIA, which is the Kabul international airport. And even though we had her at the gate multiple times — multiple times we were on the phone with the State Department over the last two weeks trying to get her out and they wouldn’t even open the gate for us,” Mullins told CNN.
However, during the interview, Mullins failed to mention that Taliban forces sealed off every gate at Kabul’s airport.
Mullin claims that The Sentinel Foundation and his team of contractors are solely responsible for securing Mariam and her children’s 300-mile rescue journey out of Afghanistan. He accuses the U.S. State Department of trying to take credit after showing up at the last minute.
“We had her there for 24 hours before the State Department was even aware she was there. They didn’t show up until a few hours after we’d actually — or before we got her across. And so for them to say they facilitated it is absolutely a lie,” he said.
Keilar mentioned that Mariam arrived at safety accompanied by Embassy officials.
The representative was criticized for wanting to bring cash into the country that he purports would have been used to rescue the family. The CNN anchor Mullin about it during the interview:
“Anybody that’s worked in that region knows they don’t take credit cards. And as I said, you’ve got to go through 20 checkpoints — over 20 checkpoints before you could even get to the area we were at. And at each one of those checkpoints, they will charge you between $500 to $4,000 per person. They don’t take credit cards; they only take cash,” Mullin told the reporter.
Mullins Accused of Showboating
Many accuse Mullin of seeking attention for his unauthorized rescue. This, after two Republican officials stated they would launch their own separate missions to save Americans trapped in Afghanistan.
“At the end of the day, the State Department and the president started playing politics with it. And in the long run, it probably worked out better for them not going to land us at that time. Because what’s happened now is we started a whole ground operation to be able to start getting people that the administration left behind — because they left them behind,” Mullin stated.
Mullin alleges that the State Department didn’t begin launching ground rescues in Afghanistan until after his team saved the family.
Notably, Mullin wasn’t in Afghanistan or in the middle east during the rescue effort. He was in Oklahoma.