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Two Congressmen secretly fly to Afghanistan, rapped by Speaker Nancy Pelosi

Situation at the Kabul airport remains serious as foreign nationals depart under the shadow of the August 31 deadline (Photo: IANS)

Earlier this week two members of the US Congress secretly visited Kabul right in the middle of one of the most intense evacuation efforts to quietly observe the happenings.

Cutting across political ideologies but bonded in military camaraderie, Seth Moulton, a Democrat, and Peter Meijer, a Republican, visited the Hamid Karzai International Airport (HKIA) this Tuesday "to conduct oversight" on the evacuation process. The news of their secret visit was provided by their offices after their departure for Afghanistan.

Moulton and Meijer are military veterans who had served in the Middle East.  

The duo reached the Persian Gulf from where they flew into Kabul on a plane that was evacuating American nationals and Afghan allies. After observing the happenings at the Kabul airport for a few hours, they shared a flight back with the refugees.

In a statement on their return, they said: "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. We were there to gather information, not to grandstand".

About their visit they said that the US would not be able to get everyone out on time. They also had praise for the efforts of the US personnel at the Kabul airport.

In a series of tweets, Moulton said: "The world has truly never seen anything like what America is doing in Kabul this week–deeply tragic and highly heroic. Fear and desperation at their worst; hope and humanity at their finest".

However, the two were criticised in Washington for their unofficial and audacious trip.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi issued a terse statement, warning others not to travel to the region. She said: "This is deadly serious. We do not want members to go. . . We don't want anyone to think this was a good idea".

In the daily briefing on Wednesday, White House press secretary Jen Psaki said: "We can confirm that we advise against any Americans, whether elected or not, attempting to travel to Kabul right now". 

With the deadline just two days away, and the security situation continuing to remain serious at the Kabul Airport, the trip has not been looked upon kindly by many in the US.