WASHINGTON (KFOR) – Oklahoma Congressman Markwayne Mullin spoke to Fox News on Friday, his first time speaking publicly since his daring mission to the heart of Afghanistan in an effort to save American lives.
“I wasn’t looking to get into Afghanistan. That wasn’t what this thing started out to be. People started calling me wanting help,” said the Republican congressman to Bret Baier. “How do you say no when you have the opportunity to do something?”
Mullin said he was trying to help a family get out of Taliban territory.
“It came out that they needed a State Department or a government entity to sponsor their flight going in. No one would sponsor the flights even though it was designated to get these 20 American citizens out,” he said.
While organizing the save in Afghanistan, Mullin said the team asked him to tag along believing he could be an asset. He said he hopped on the plane, but the flight never landed after nearing the Kabul airport.
“We circled the airport for probably an hour,” he said. “I don’t know who shut us down, but I think it was 100 percent from the State Department.”
“We called the State Department. The State Department said we’re not in control of the airspace. We’re not controlling any of that. Well, it’s our mess,” said Mullin.
Mullin said he believes the family he was trying to help never made it out alive.
“Unfortunately, one of our American citizens, her two year old son and, I believe, her father, to which I all have passports on, we lost contact of because they were at the Abbey gate,” he said. “A couple of days later the Abbey gate blew up. We haven’t had any contact with him since. I believe it’s because they were caught up in that.”
The Washington Post reported Mullin reached out to an ambassador at an embassy in a nearby country, telling them he had a large amount of cash and was attempting to get through checkpoints which can cost up to $4,000. The ambassador told Mullin he couldn’t help.
“You were told not to help an American citizen? You were told by the federal government in Washington, D.C., not to help when we’re not trying to smuggle anyone over. We’re trying to do a job that President Biden wouldn’t do,” said the congressman.
A State Department official reportedly said, “To say this is extremely dangerous is an understatement.”
“Unfortunately, it’s kind of the political theater, the big stunt that once in a while you’ll see from congressmen and women that is not helpful,” said David Walters, the 24th governor of Oklahoma.
“[Mullin is] kind of known as the tough guy plumber and not particularly the sharpest stick in the pile,” said Walters referring to Mullin’s Oklahoma plumbing company. “My office gave some advice to a group that wound up getting a woman and her family out, so there’s a way to do this.
“I’d do it again tomorrow,” said Mullin. “We were saving people’s lives.”