Pentagon says congressmen’s surprise visit to Kabul ‘took time away’ from evacuation efforts

‘They certainly took time away from what we had been planning to do that day’

Eric Garcia
Washington DC
Wednesday 25 August 2021 17:53
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Pentagon spokesman John Kirby has criticised US congressmen Seth Moulton and Peter Meijer for their surprise trip to Afghanistan, saying it diverted resources.

Mr Kirby said that the Department of Defense was not aware of the visit by Mr Moulton, a Democrat from Massachusetts, and Mr Meijer, a Republican from Michigan, before it happened.

“We were not aware of this visit and we are obviously not encouraging VIP visits to a very tense dangerous and dynamic situation,” he said.

Mr Kirby added he thought Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin would have appreciated an opportunity to speak with the congressmen before the visit.

“To say there wasn’t a need to flex and to alter the day’s flow, including the need to have protection for these members of Congress, that wouldn’t be a genuine thing for me to assert,” he said.

“They certainly took time away from what we had been planning to do that day.”

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi similarly criticized the two members, both of whom are veterans.

“It’s not just about them going to Afghanistan, but them going to the region because there’s a call on our resources diplomatically, military and the rest in the region as well,” she told reporters during her weekly news conference on Wednesday.

“So this is deadly serious. We do not want members to go.”

Accordingly, Ms Pelosi sent a letter to her colleagues telling them not to go to the region.

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