WASHINGTON (AP) — Two members of Congress flew unannounced into Kabul airport in the middle of the ongoing chaotic evacuation Tuesday.
The visit stunned State Department and U.S. military personnel who had to divert resources to provide security and information to the lawmakers.
Officials say Massachusetts Democratic congressman Seth Moulton and Michigan Republican congressman Peter Meijer flew in and out on charter aircraft and were on the ground at the Kabul airport for several hours.
"Washington should be ashamed of the position we put our service members in, but they represent the best in America. These men and women have been run ragged and are still running strong. Their empathy and dedication to duty are truly inspiring," Moulton said in a tweet.
Today with @RepMeijer I visited Kabul airport to conduct oversight on the evacuation.
Witnessing our young Marines and soldiers at the gates, navigating a confluence of humanity as raw and visceral as the world has ever seen, was indescribable. pic.twitter.com/bWGQh1iw2c
— Seth Moulton (@sethmoulton) August 25, 2021
He added that he spoke with commanders on the ground who told him they won't get everyone out by the Aug. 31 deadline.
"Sadly and frustratingly, getting our people out depends on maintaining the current, bizarre relationship with the Taliban," Moulton said.
Meijer continued his calls for the president to extend the Aug. 31 deadline. In an interview, Meijer said there are moral and humanitarian consequences to leaving people who supported the U.S. mission behind.
The legislators say they went to Afghanistan to conduct important oversight and made sure not to take seats that would otherwise have gone to evacuees.