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The 2 lawmakers who secretly went to Kabul said there is 'no way we can get everyone out' by Aug. 31 and the only way to work with the Taliban is leave on time

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Seth Moulton
Rep. Seth Moulton. AP Photo/Cheryl Senter
  • The two lawmakers that secretly visited Kabul said Biden's August 31 deadline is needed.

  • They said they previously wanted it extended, but saw that getting everyone out is impossible.

  • They said keeping the deadline means having a "working relationship with the Taliban after our departure."

  • See more stories on Insider's business page.

The two lawmakers who made an unannounced trip to Kabul as the US was desperately trying to evacuate people said the trip convinced them that Biden's August 31 military-withdrawal deadline for evacuations was necessary.

Democrat Rep. Seth Moulton and Republican Rep. Peter Meijer chartered a plane to Kabul airport and stayed there for several hours on Tuesday. In a statement, they said they went to conduct "oversight" on the efforts to evacuate Americans and allies.

Their trip was condemned by White House, Pentagon, and State Department officials.

In a Wednesday interview with The New York Times, they said the trip had changed their minds about extending Biden's deadline. They had previously lobbied for Biden to extend it.

Moulton said: "Almost every veteran in Congress wants to extend the August 31 deadline, including us, and our opinion on that was changed on the ground, because we started the evacuations so late.

"There's no way we can get everyone out, even by September 11. So we need to have a working relationship with the Taliban after our departure. And the only way to achieve that is to leave by August 31."

Meijer added: "It is utterly bizarre and baffling that we're in this position. To go from having the Taliban as an adversary we're seeking to kill, to relying upon them for security, coordinating to make sure things run smoothly.

"It's a complicated situation that's impossible to understand if you're not on the ground and yet critical to saving the lives of tens of thousands.

"There are tireless diplomatic officials there who have been working around the clock to clear backlogs, to work on the permissions needed to land in order to make sure all of this goes smoothly."

Read the original article on Business Insider

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