WASHINGTON — U.S. Rep. Markwayne Mullin reported he is safe and headed home after reports that he made a second attempt to gain entry to Afghanistan.
In an Instagram post, Mullin said he was never missing but that he did “go dark for a little” because it “wasn’t safe to be communicating.” He said he has been helping Americans exit Afghanistan and that the mission is ongoing.
“Am I extremely disappointed in how we (United States) left Americans behind… that would be an understatement. President Biden and his administration are absolutely lying to the American people about Americans and our friends being left behind,” Mullin wrote on Instagram. “So many great Americans, many who are Veterans and many who are not, are stepping up to keep our promise….. We will never leave an American behind.”
Efforts by Gaylord News to contact Mullin (R-OK2), his staff or his family directly were unsuccessful Wednesday.
Mullin’s spokeswoman, Meredith Blanford, sent out a statement Tuesday evening insisting Mullin was safe despite a Washington Post story saying his whereabouts were unknown.
“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,” Blanford said.
The Washington Post reported that Mullin, an outspoken critic of President Joe Biden and the pullout from Afghanistan, has defied U.S. government warnings in his attempts to rescue Americans who are stuck in the country.
Last week, Mullin asked the Department of Defense for permission to visit Kabul while he was visiting Greece, but the Pentagon denied his request, the Post reported.
Mullin called the embassy late Monday and said he planned to fly from Tbilisi, Georgia, into Tajikistan’s capital, Dushanbe, in the next few hours and needed the top diplomat’s help, according to two U.S. officials familiar with the incident who spoke anonymously to the Washington Post.
The situation pivoted, the Post reported, when the U.S. Embassy received a call from Mullin requesting assistance in transporting a “huge amount” of money into Afghanistan to hire a helicopter for the rescue effort.
Officials said Mullin became upset when the embassy’s answer was no. Mullin then threatened U.S. Ambassador John Mark Pommersheim and embassy staff and demanded the names of staff he spoke with, according to the Washington Post.
The attempt follows other incidents last week of unauthorized trips to Afghanistan by Reps. Seth Moulton (D-MA6) and Peter Meijer (R-MI3), “which Pentagon and State Department officials criticized as a public relations stunt that sapped government resources during a national security crisis,” the Washington Post reported.
The pullout was concluded on Monday, ending America’s longest war. The U.S. military helped evacuate more than 120,000 people, including at-risk Afghans, U.S. citizens, and allies. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said Monday that fewer than 200 American citizens remain in the country.