Oklahoma lawmaker shares details from Afghanistan rescue efforts

Published: Sep. 9, 2021 at 7:05 PM CDT
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WASHINGTON D.C. (KXII) - Oklahoma Representative Markwayne Mullin is back in his Oklahoma office today where he spoke to News 12 explaining his rescue efforts for Americans stranded in Afghanistan.

Representative Mullin said the State Department was aware of where he was and said he was off the grid at times for their safety. Mullin said his group was never more than a few feet in Afghanistan, if that, because they couldn’t get clearance into the country. He said prior to their task to rescue a Texas family, they had all documents in order to land at the airport. But after several attempts to approach landing were denied, they had to find an alternative route.

“I said ‘so you’re telling me we’re not taking anymore Americans, you’re leaving them behind?’ And she says ‘Mr. Mullin I’m so sorry,’” said Mullin.

Oklahoma Congressman Markwayne Mullin teamed up with the Sentinel Foundation, a non-profit that rescues children around the world.

“Now we’re working with organizations that’s inside Afghanistan and outside of Afghanistan that’s doing the job the federal government refused to do. And that means we’re not willing to leave any American behind,” said Mullin.

Monday Mullin was able to help an Amarillo woman named Mariam escape Afghanistan with her 3 small children. They are American citizens who went to visit Mariam’s parents, who live in Afghanistan and were meeting her kids for the first time.

“In Mariam’s case we had to have people drive her through 20 plus checkpoints in over 300 miles which isn’t 300 miles like here in the United States it’s 300 grueling miles took about a total of 17 to 18 total hours to get there,” said Mullin.

He said Mariam was one of many calls he receives daily from Americans stranded in Afghanistan, and said he couldn’t walk away from a sense of responsibility.

“It became very clear very fast that they weren’t going to open the gates back up even though they said they were gonna take other Americans,” said Mullin.

“The bottom line, 90 percent of Americans in Afghanistan who wanted to leave were able to leave. And for those remaining Americans, there is no deadline. We remain committed to get them out if they want to come out,” said President Joe Biden.

“President Biden his administration left these individuals behind knowing they’re leaving them behind. And when they said that every American that wanted out could’ve got out, that’s a bald-faced lie. Most of them couldn’t even get to the airport because there were 3 checkpoints before you could even get to the airport, and through every one of those checkpoints they cost you money,” said Mullin.

Mullin said he’s actively trying to get 23 Americans out, but they may be running out of time.

“Their lives are in danger because at some point the Taliban is gonna run out of patience and quit letting us go through these checkpoints at some point they’re gonna start executing people,” said Mullin.

They couldn’t find a US government agency to sponsor the humanitarian flight and the other option was a congressional sponsor, which required the sponsoring member to be on the flight. That’s why he himself had to make the dangerous trip, but he would do it again.

“I would do it in a heartbeat, I wouldn’t even hesitate about it. Listen there’s people that need help and I don’t know if there’s an Oklahoman around that would walk across or walk around somebody in need. We’re not raised like that in Oklahoma,” said Mullin.

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