Reps. Seth Moulton (D-Massachusetts) and Peter Meijer (R-Michigan) visited Afghanistan last week as the evacuation process continued in Kabul.

Following their trip to Afghanistan, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-California) wrote a letter urging other lawmakers not to visit Afghanistan.

“Given the urgency of this situation, the desire of some Members to travel to Afghanistan and the surrounding areas is understandable and reflective of the high priority that we place on the lives of those on the ground,” Pelosi said. “Member travel to Afghanistan and the surrounding countries would unnecessarily divert needed resources from the priority mission of safely and expeditiously evacuating America and Afghans at risk from Afghanistan.”

The two House representatives also faced backlash from other officials over their unauthorized visit to Afghanistan.

“We can confirm that we advise against any Americans, whether elected or not, attempting to travel to Kabul right now,” White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said Tuesday. “The focus must continue to be evacuating American citizens and our Afghan partners who fought alongside us for the last 20 years, and that is best left in the hands of our the Department of Defense and the State Department.”

The two lawmakers, the former veterans who have been the outspoken critics of the Biden administration’s withdrawal from Kabul, made a joint statement to explain their motives behind the visit.

“There is no place in the world right now where oversight matters more. We conducted this visit in secret, speaking about it only after our departure, to minimize the risk and disruption to the people on the ground, and because we were there to gather information, not to grandstand,” the joint statement said. 

“We left on a plane with empty seats, seated in crew-only seats to ensure that nobody who needed a seat would lose one because of our presence,” the lawmakers added in their statement added. 

 

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