The State Department is attempting to steal full credit for the United States “facilitated the safe departure of four US citizens” from Afghanistan,” but a private team of military veterans involved in the rescue effort is disputing this claim, arguing that the Biden administration deserves little to no credit for the dangerous operation.
On Monday, a senior State Department officials announced that the “U.S. has facilitated the safe departure of four US citizens by the overland route from Afghanistan. Embassy staff was present upon their arrival.”
The State Department official added that the Taliban “was aware” of the evacuation and “did not impede their transit.”
“They were in good condition,” the official said.
Cory Mills, a decorated U.S. Army combat veteran and one of the six Republican candidates vying for the Florida 7th Congressional district currently held by Democrat Rep. Stephaine Murray, organized the private mission with a team of veterans to rescue the American mom, Mariam, and her three children from Afghanistan. The team, whose efforts rely solely on funding from private donors, including the Sentinel Foundation, worked for weeks to get Mariam’s family out where the Biden administration had left them behind after Rep. Ronny Jackson (R-TX) alerted him to the family’s plight.
Mills told Fox News in an interview said the State Department is “exaggerating its role” by taking the whole credit for Mariam’s rescue, calling it “absolute nonsense.” He noted that had “little” to do with the rescue mission until his team completed the most dangerous part of getting Mariam and her children across the border.
“The fact that they’re spinning this, trying to take 100 percent credit when they didn’t track this family, when they placated this family, when the mother, who was under extreme stress and extreme pressure, reached out to the State Department multiple times and got no help,” Mills said.
“This is an attempt to save face by the administration for the Americans they left behind. This is a woman with three children from age 15 all the way down to two years old. And they did nothing to try to expedite this… But at the very last minute, you have these ‘senior officials’ at the State Department trying to claim credit for this like ‘oh yeah look what we’ve done,'” Mills continued.
“It’s like we carried the ball to the 99-and-a-half yard line and them taking it that last half yard and being like ‘look what we did,’” he added.
According to Mills, the team first attempted to get Mariam’s family aboard one of the last six government flights out of Kabul last Monday but could not gain admission into the airport. The State Department being unhelpful, repeatedly urged the four American citizens to go to the airport gate, braving the heavily armored Taliban who refused to let them and others pass the checkpoint admission each time. During the final attempt to enter the airport, Mariam was met by a Taliban fighter who pointed a pistol at her head and warned her not to come back to the entrance.
Mills’ team came to the rescue when they heard that the Taliban fighter was looking for Mariam, asking locals in Kabul if they knew the American mother and how they could find her. From there, the team rushed to get her and the children out of the city and into a safe house and attempted to execute Plan B. Mills said that plan consisted of getting Mariam and her family aboard a private charter flight from Mazar-i-Sharif airport, but those flights were never cleared to take off due to the State Department failing to gain the clearance needed for private charter flights leaving Afghanistan to land in a neighboring country.
The final plan, Mills said, was to travel overland to a neighboring country and attempt to get the family across the border. Mills compared the “multiple attempts and sleight-of-hand tactics” to a shell game, but Mariam and her family were finally able to cross the unknown border on Monday – just before the Taliban closed the checkpoint to prevent Americans from escaping.
Rep. Michael McCaul (R-TX) argued Sunday that the Taliban were holding Americans hostage at Mazar-i-Sharif by refusing six airplanes to depart flights to leave.
Jackson echoed Mills’ criticism, slamming the State Department for “lying,” saying they didn’t do anything for two weeks until the family crossed “into the third country did the State offered support by securing tourist visas.”
“The only thing the Biden Administration seems to be good at is patting itself on the back for a job horribly done. This administration left my constituents behind in Afghanistan, and now they’re lying about their role in getting these four American citizens out,” Jackson said.
After 2 weeks & multiple life threatening attempts, I am overjoyed to share that 4 U.S. citizens from #TX13 were part of the first successful ground evacuation since the U.S. left Kabul. Thank you to Cory Mills & the other patriots on his team for saving these BRAVE Americans! pic.twitter.com/1Tv9KRUgcE
— Ronny Jackson (@RepRonnyJackson) September 6, 2021
Rep. Markwayne Mullin (R-OK) also blasted the State Department’s false claim that they “facilitated the safe departure” of the four Americans leaving Afghanistan, telling CNN Tuesday that the statement is all “a flat out lie,” and the credit solely belongs to the “team of patriots who worked around the clock for two weeks to get them out.”
“We started getting all types of pushback from the State Department, and so we found ourselves not being able to get her out through HKIA, which is the Kabul international airport,” Mullin told CNN’s Brianna Keilar on CNN New Day Tuesday morning. “And even though we had her at the gate multiple times — we was on the phone with the State Department over the last two weeks trying to get her out, and they wouldn’t even open the gate for us. And so, when the administration says that every American that wanted out could get out, that’s an absolute lie because we’re working with 27 AMCITS, American citizens, right now that I assure you all of them wanted out, and we couldn’t get them out.”
“The State Department actually told the embassy and the country not to assist us in any way. It was really a mis-narrative that the State Department tried to spin. And now they’re trying to go out there and take credit for the four American citizens. The fact of the matter is I wouldn’t even have been there if the Biden administration would have done their job in the first place,” Mullin added.
Mullin noted that the State Department at “one time” directed the ambassador in Afghanistan “not to assist us” in the evacuation “in any way.”
“The State Department was actually told at one time, actually told the embassy and the country not to assist us in any way,” Mullin said. “Quote, that came from the ambassador, said ‘Washington, D.C., Representative Mullin, I’m not to assist you in any way.'”
When asked whether the agency is overselling its role in Mariam’s rescue, a State Department spokesperson told Fox News: “The Department assisted four Americans departing Afghanistan via an overland route on Monday. We provided guidance to them, worked to facilitate their safe passage, and Embassy officials greeted the Americans once they had crossed the border.”