An Oklahoma Republican congressman said that he is “heading home” after reports that his whereabouts were unknown after he allegedly tried to carry out a rescue mission of Americans trapped in Afghanistan.
“I am heading home,” Rep. Markwayne Mullin (R-Okla.) wrote on Wednesday in an Instagram post. “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.”
The Oklahoma congressman then criticized President Joe Biden’s handling of the Afghanistan pullout, which left at least 100 Americans remaining, according to estimates from the Pentagon and State Department officials. Biden, he said, is “lying to the American people” about the number of Americans and Afghans who remain in Afghanistan, which was captured by the Taliban last month.
Mullin’s communications director Meredith Blanford also confirmed he was not in any danger during his trip.
“Congressman Mullin has been and is currently completely safe,” Blanford said in a statement. “He and the Office of Oklahoma’s Second District will continue to do anything in our power to bring home all Americans from the war zone that President Biden abandoned. The safety and security of the American people will always be his top priority.”
The Washington Post, which cited unnamed sources, reported the congressman had planned to hire a helicopter to enter Afghanistan from neighboring Tajikistan to rescue five American citizens: a woman and her four children. U.S. embassy officials in Tajikistan said that he could not enter the country, the Post reported.
Mullin’s comment on social media made no reference to the Post’s report or details about flying to Tajikistan. The Epoch Times has contacted his office for comment.
Rep. Kevin Hern (R-Okla.) told Fox23 that Mullin attempted a “very dangerous mission” due to the lack of U.S. military soldiers in Afghanistan.
“There are, quite frankly, we have a lot of special operators, former special operators on the ground that have created and these groups of folks to go get our American citizens out. And there’s a lot of time. I don’t want to say a whole lot about it. Because I don’t want to give away any so private contractors are being used now,” he said.
On Monday, as the U.S. military carried out its final evacuation flight, top Gen. Frank McKenzie declared the 20-year-long conflict in Afghanistan over.
A day later, Biden gave a defiant speech and defended his administration’s handling of the withdrawal and argued that it was necessary to conduct the pullout now. He also blamed the Afghan army, government, and the Trump administration for negotiating a deal with the Taliban. Biden in recent weeks had received unprecedented criticism from different angles, alleging that his administration botched the pullout, which led to chaos and the deaths of 13 U.S. soldiers at the Kabul airport.