Speed Reads

where in the world is markwayne mullin?

An Oklahoma congressman kept trying to enter Afghanistan, and now it's unclear where he is

Rep. Markwayne Mullin (R-Okla.) called the U.S. Embassy in Tajikistan on Monday and made a brazen request, two U.S. officials told The Washington Post — he said he was on his way to Afghanistan to rescue an American woman and her four children, but first he needed help getting a massive amount of cash into Tajikistan.

There is a limit on how much cash can be brought into Tajikistan, the Post reports, and Mullin told the staffer who answered the phone that he needed to carry enough to pay for a helicopter that would be used to get the family out of Afghanistan. Mullin said he would be flying from Tblisi, Georgia, into Dushanbe, Tajikistan, in a few hours, and for his operation to work, he needed the assistance of U.S. Ambassador John Mark Pommersheim. When the staffer told Mullin this wasn't possible, the congressman threatened Pommersheim and the Embassy's employees, and demanded to know the name of the person he was speaking to, U.S. officials told the Post.

The officials said this wasn't Mullin's first attempt to enter Afghanistan — last week, he flew to Greece and asked the Defense Department for permission to go to Kabul, a request that was rejected. The fact that he keeps ignoring warnings about not entering Afghanistan during a dangerous time is stunning and concerning, the officials told the Post, and as of Tuesday night, they do not know where he is. "To say this is extremely dangerous is a massive understatement," a State Department official said.

Mullin, 44, was elected to Congress in 2012. A member of the conservative Republican Study Committee, he voted against certifying the 2020 presidential election results, and was a critic of President Biden's Afghanistan withdrawal plan. Two other congressmen who were able to get into Kabul last week, Rep. Seth Moulton (D-Mass.) and Rep. Peter Meijer (R-Mich.), served in Iraq, but Mullin was not a member of the U.S. military. Mullin's office did not respond to the Post's multiple requests for comment, and when asked on Tuesday if he knew Mullin's whereabouts, House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) said nothing and walked away.