GOP Rep. claims State Department tried to STOP bid to get a stranded Texas family out of Afghanistan
Republican Rep. Markwayne Mullin claimed on Tuesday morning that the Biden State Department tried to stop his successful mission to rescue a US citizen and her three young children from Afghanistan by land.
Mullin and fellow GOP Rep. Ronny Jackson helped organize the evacuation of Texas resident Mariam, who was left behind when the US military finished its withdrawal. They were aided by Army veteran Cory Mills, who was in the Middle East with Mariam and her children for the daring rescue.
That country has not been named so as not to jeopardize future rescue attempts.
‘The State Department was actually told at one time, actually told the embassy and the country not to assist us in any way,’ he said. ‘Quote, that came from the ambassador, said ‘Washington, D.C., Representative Mullin, I’m not to assist you in any way.’
A State Department spokesperson declined to comment when asked by DailyMail.com.
‘It was until the second day that we almost had her out that the State Department came in, and when they came in, they did come in to help, I’ll give you that,’ Mullin conceded.
‘They showed up a few hours after she got across. For them to say they facilitated, that’s a lie.’
The Texas-based family – consisting of a mom named Mariam and her three children – finally managed to get out of Afghanistan on Monday with the help of Army combat veteran Cory Mills. The family are pictured with Mill after reaching safety
Rep. Markwayne Mullin claimed the State Department instructed the country they were evacuating Mariam and her three children into to not assist the mission
He claims that help only came at the last minute after days of State Department resistance.
Mullin said the mission began two weeks ago when he and Jackson were contacted about the young family trying to get out of Kabul.
They were to make ‘no press statements at all about this’ while the lawmakers and a team of contractors working with a nonprofit on the ground worked to get them out.
‘But when we were trying to enter into Afghanistan, things went really sideways,’ Mullin said.
‘We started getting all types of pushback from the State Department, and so we found ourselves not being able to get her out through the Kabul International Airport.
‘And even though we had her at the gate multiple times, multiple we was on the phone with the State Department over the last two weeks trying to get her out, and they wouldn’t even open a gate for us.’
On Monday, the State Department publicly stated that they helped to ‘facilitate’ the operation.
A spokesperson told Fox News that the Department ‘provided guidance to the family, worked to facilitate their safe passage, and Embassy officials greeted the Americans once they had crossed the border.’
But Mullin told CNN that his team was forced to bribe their way through 20 checkpoints, sometimes paying up to $4,000 per person in cash.
He also claimed it was the nonprofit Sentinel Foundation, not the State Department, that negotiated with the Taliban.
‘When I see the State Department come out and take credit for this, it is absolutely a lie,’ he said.
Mariam and her children – who live northwest of Dallas – had gone to visit her parents in Kabul when the Taliban suddenly overtook the city and they became trapped.
The family tried to get out of Afghanistan on an emergency evacuation flight, but a member of the Taliban purportedly pointed a pistol at Mariam’s head as the family arrived at the airport during their fourth attempt to flee, leaving them too frightened to try again.
Secretary of State Blinken in Qatar on Tuesday. The State Department claimed it helped facilitate the rescue of Mariam and her family
Blinken tours the Al Udeid Air Base in Qatar, the closest evacuation staging area to Afghanistan
Blinken meets with Afghan all-female robotics team members at Qatar’s Education City Club House in Doha on September 7
Mullin revealed he was directly working with 27 other American citizens that ‘couldn’t get out’ by President Biden’s withdrawal deadline.
And other Republican lawmakers are disputing the Biden administration’s Afghanistan narrative as well.
GOP Rep. Darrell Issa believes the number of Americans waiting to leave is more around 500 and could be as high as 1,000 – if family members of U.S. citizens are included in that count.
‘Unless we continue and get the rest of our American citizens, and all those otherwise eligible out, we won’t have done our job,’ Issa told the Associated Press over the weekend.
Representative Don Bacon, a Republican and former Air Force officer, also accused the Biden administration of deflating the number of Americans stranded in Afghanistan.
‘The problem is, it doesn’t include families,’ the Nebraska congressman said. ‘They’re lowballing the numbers.’
Army combat veteran Cory Mills hit out at the government after rescuing Mariam, and her three children by bringing them overland through Afghanistan and into the safety of a neighboring country.
Mills helped the Texas family flee after they were left behind in Afghanistan when President Joe Biden ordered the withdrawal of all US troops on August 31, and is now furious with the State Department’s attempts to claim they masterminded the rescue.
Mills and his private team helped get Mariam and her family to a safehouse and organized for them to travel on an overland route to reach the border of a neighboring country and get to safety.
And he accused the State Department of trying to take full credit.
But Mills furiously disputes that claim, telling Fox News: ‘This is an attempt to save face by the administration for the Americans they left behind.’
Mariam and her family were abandoned in Afghanistan when the US military withdrew from Kabul last week. US officials confirmed they were the first Americans rescued by the government by land since the Taliban took the country
He further raged: ‘This is a woman with three children from age 15 all the way down to two-years-old. And they did nothing to try to expedite this… But at the very last minute you have these ‘senior officials’ at the State Department trying to claim credit for this like “oh yeah look what we’ve done”‘.
‘It’s like we carried the ball to the 99-and-a-half yard line and them taking it that last half yard and being like “look what we did”.
Mills further alleges that Mariam reached out to the State Department in distress ‘multiple times and got no help’.
Rep. Ronny Jackson of Texas revealed Monday that Mariam was one of his own constituents from Texas’s 13th district.
He took to Twitter to celebrate after she successfully evacuated Afghanistan.
Speaking with Fox News he also blasted the State Department.
‘The State Department didn’t do anything for two weeks except put my constituents in danger and leave them stranded,’ he blasted.
The Texas-based family – consisting of a mom named Mariam and her three children – finally managed to get out of Afghanistan on Monday with the help of Army combat veteran Cory Mills. Mills is pictured
‘I know this for a fact because my office has been working around the clock to get our people home with no legitimate support from State. Only after Cory Mills and his team got them into the third country did State offer support by securing tourist visas.
‘Cory and his team are brave patriots. Praise God that American veterans have more resolve than Joe Biden or his State Department.’
Oklahoma conservative Rep. Markwayne Mullin concurred, claiming it was a ‘flat out lie’ that the State Department facilitated the evacuation of Mariam and her family.
Meanwhile the Biden administration hit a snag in its ‘diplomatic mission’ to rescue other Americans and Afghan allies still stranded after negotiations between the State Department and Taliban officials reportedly broke down over the weekend.
Six private charter planes sent to the city of Mazar-i-Sharif to evacuate at least 1,000 people have been grounded 260 miles north of Kabul.
Democratic Senator Richard Blumenthal said he was ‘frustrated, even furious’ at the government’s delay in pulling them out.
Oklahoma conservative Rep. Markwayne Mullin concurred, claiming it was a ‘flat out lie’ that the State Department facilitated the evacuation of Mariam and her family
‘There will be plenty of time to seek accountability for the inexcusable bureaucratic red tape that stranded so many of our Afghan allies,’ Blumenthal told The Hill. ‘For now, my singular focus remains getting these planes in the air and safely to our airbase in Doha, where they have already been cleared to land.’
On Sunday, Reuters reported that the delay had been caused by Biden administration officials not telling Taliban leaders it had approved the departures of the chartered flights from Mazar-i-Sharif.
An exasperated flight organizer hit out at the State Department over the fiasco, saying: ‘They need to be held accountable for putting these people’s lives in danger.’
Other groups trying to organize their own chartered flights have also hit out at the State Department, with Rick Clay from private rescue firm PlanB claiming it’s the only thing stopping him fulfilling his brief.
Two other organizers have also torn into the State Department, with one – who didn’t give their name – telling Fox: ‘This is zero place to be negotiating with American lives. Those are our people standing on the tarmac and all it takes is a f****ing phone call.
‘If one life is lost as a result of this, the blood is on the White House’s hands. The blood is on their hands. It is not the Taliban that is holding this up – as much as it sickens me to say that – it is the United States government.’
Further details on the reason for the delay in discussions has not been disclosed. although Blinken jetted to Qatar on Sunday to discuss the issue with leaders there.
This handout satellite image released by Maxar Technologies shows satellite imagery of the Mazar-i-Sharif and grounded planes at the airport in northern Afghanistan on September 3
Antony Blinken rushed to Qatar Sunday amid the unfolding crisis in Mazar-i-Sharif