Daily US Times: Two US congressmen on Tuesday made a surprise announcement about their unannounced visit to Afghanistan’s capital Kabul as the United States races to evacuate as many people as possible from the country in the remaining days of the US forces presence there. The announcement made Democratic leadership by surprise and drawing swift criticism.
Peter Meijer, a Republican from Michigan and Reps. Seth Moulton, a Democrat from Massachusetts, both military veterans who had served in the Middle East, said in a joint statement that they had traveled to Afghanistan “to conduct oversight on the mission to evacuate Americans and our allies”. Their trip to Afghanistan had been conducted in secret “to minimize the risk and disruption to the people on the ground.”
Moulton and Meijer said: “As members of Congress, we have a duty to provide oversight on the executive branch.”
Both of them said they had traveled to Afghanistan “on a plane with empty seats, seated in crew-only seats to ensure that nobody who needed a seat would lose one because of our presence.”
But the trip blindsided House Armed Services Committee and House leadership, as well as the White House, according to a source familiar with the matter.
The Associated Press (AP) first reported about the tour.
A US official described the trip as an “unhelpful distraction.” In an interview with CNN on Tuesday, the officials said that the Defense Department was also not given advance notice that the congressmen would fly to Afghanistan.