Days after taking an unauthorized trip to see the situation on the ground in Afghanistan and after terrorist attacks claimed the lives of 13 U.S. service members Thursday, Rep. Peter Meijer, R-Mich., said officials need to resign.
''If they don’t have the sense of honor to frankly resign, to take responsibility, I think that would be pretty shameful and I think that’s a decision that individual needs to make. But if they have any honor, they will recognize their own culpability,'' he told The Daily Beast in an interview Friday. ''I don't want to get into names, but you can clearly see just overwhelming strategic, operational failure that individuals need to be held accountable for.''
Meijer, a veteran of both Afghanistan and Iraq, visited the Hamid Karzai Airport with fellow veteran and Rep. Seth Moulton, D-Mass., this week to see what was happening on the ground as efforts to evacuate Americans, third country nationals, and Afghan refugees continued following the Taliban’s takeover of the country.
In an Aug. 24 statement following the trip, the congressmen praised the troops on the ground for their resiliency but criticized officials for the situation they found.
''Washington should be ashamed of the position we put our service members in, but they represent the best in America. These men and women have been run ragged and are still running strong. Their empathy and dedication to duty are truly inspiring. The acts of heroism and selflessness we witnessed at (the airport) make America proud,'' the statement said.
''We came into this visit wanting, like most veterans, to push the president to extend the Aug. 31 deadline. After talking with commanders on the ground and seeing the situation here, it is obvious that because we started the evacuation so late, that no matter what we do, we won’t get everyone out on time, even by Sept. 11. Sadly, and frustratingly, getting our people out depends on maintaining the current, bizarre relationship with the Taliban.''
The pair’s trip into the country drew the ire of officials but was needed to determine what was going on there, they said.
Meijer’s comments Friday followed a terrorist suicide bomber attack at one of the airport gates where the U.S. military was checking the papers of fleeing Afghans, killing 13 service members.
When asked Friday if he knew any of those service members killed, Meijer said he was aware of the unit.
''I don’t want to get too into that, but I did know the group,'' he said. ''I’m just from a distance, right, my heart just breaks for those men, obviously, for their families, for their colleagues. They should have never been put in that position, but they were, and they did the absolute best that they could with what they had. And they saved lives.''
Meijer said that if those officials responsible for the debacle in Afghanistan do not ''do the right thing,'' then Congress should step in with an inquiry, and possibly consider impeachment, according to The Daily Beast article.
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