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Oklahoma Rep. Markwayne Mullin, whose exact whereabouts were unknown until early Wednesday, threatened embassy workers in Tajikistan while attempting to enter bordering Afghanistan to rescue five U.S. citizens, according to a new report.
On Wednesday, the congressman posted to social media he was "heading home," confirming he was trying to help Americans leave Afghanistan and saying he was not "missing." Mullin stated the mission is "continuing" but did not provide details about the citizens he was reportedly trying to rescue.
"Did I go dark for a little, yes because it wasn't safe to be communicating. Am I extremely disappointed in how we (the United States) left Americans behind ... that would be an understatement," Mullin wrote in an Instagram post.
Mullin alleged Wednesday that the president "and his administration are absolutely lying to the American people about Americans and our friends being left behind."
The congressman made a phone call to the U.S. ambassador to Tajikistan on Monday, during which he told the embassy that he planned to fly from Tbilisi, Georgia, into Tajikistan’s capital, Dushanbe, in the next few hours and needed the top diplomat's help, two U.S. officials familiar with the incident told the Tulsa World.
The Republican lawmaker intended to hire a helicopter to enter Afghanistan and rescue a woman and her four children, seeking help from U.S. Ambassador to Tajikistan John Mark Pommersheim, according to the Washington Post. When Mullin was denied in his effort to bypass Tajikistan's legal cash limits, he allegedly threatened Pommersheim and other embassy staff.
"To say this is extremely dangerous is a massive understatement," a State Department official told the outlet.
Officials said Mullin's location as of Tuesday night was unknown, but Meredith Blanford, a spokeswoman for Mullin, said he "has been and is currently completely safe."
"He & 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. The safety & security of the American people will always be his top priority," Blanford tweeted Tuesday.
Blanford did not say whether Mullin was out of the United States on Tuesday, and she would not confirm or deny the information in the Washington Post story, the Tulsa World added.
The trip marked Mullin's second attempt to enter Afghanistan, after he traveled to Greece last week to ask permission to enter Afghanistan but was met with denial by the Pentagon, an administration official told the outlet.
On Monday, Mullin tweeted that U.S. citizens stranded in Afghanistan were "left to defend themselves from terrorists overrunning the country."
"One motto of our military is ‘leave no man behind.’ But today, that’s exactly what President Biden did," he continued.
Mullin, who is Native American, is a former MMA fighter who "remains active in the wrestling community," according to his congressional biography.
Reps. Seth Moulton, a Massachusetts Democrat, and Peter Meijer, a Michigan Republican, traveled to Afghanistan late last month to observe the chaos unfolding in Kabul. They were condemned by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who said the decision was "not a good idea."
Despite facing bipartisan pressure to reconsider his Aug. 31 deadline for withdrawal of all troops, the Biden administration announced that all U.S. troops departed Afghanistan on Monday, with the final C-17 carrying service members taking off from the Kabul airport at 3:29 p.m. ET.
As of Monday, the U.S. has evacuated more than 120,000 people from Afghanistan, roughly 6,000 of whom were U.S. citizens and their families. Hundreds of U.S. citizens who wanted to leave the country remained in Afghanistan after the completion of the U.S. withdrawal, officials said.
The Washington Examiner contacted the State Department and Blanford but did not immediately receive responses. The Washington Examiner also attempted to contact Mullin's office but has not yet received a response.
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Original Author: Kaelan Deese