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Reps. Seth Moulton (left) and Peter Meijer. Photo: Ethan Miller/Getty Images/Bill Clark/CQ-Roll Call via Getty Images

Reps. Seth Moulton (D-Mass.) and Peter Meijer (R-Mich.) visited Kabul on Tuesday as evacuation efforts continued from Afghanistan.

Why it matters: They had not previously announced their trip but said in a joint statement that as Congress members they "have a duty to provide oversight on the executive branch." The State Department and U.S. military personnel had to "divert resources to provide security and information to the lawmakers," U.S. officials said, per AP.

A tweet previously embedded here has been deleted or was tweeted from an account that has been suspended or deleted.

Driving the news: President Biden said earlier Tuesday that the U.S. and its allies were on track to finish evacuating Americans and some Afghans from the country by his administration's full military withdrawal date of Aug. 31.

  • Moulton tweeted that he and fellow Iraq War vet Meijer came into their visit "wanting, like most veterans, to push the president to extend" the withdrawal deadline.

What else they're saying: "We did this visit in secret to reduce risks and impact on the mission and we insisted on leaving in a plane that was not full, in a seat designated for crew so that we didn’t take a seat from someone else," the Congress members said in their statement.

  • "Washington should be ashamed of the position we put our service members in, but they represent the best in America," they continued, calling the service members' empathy and dedication "truly inspiring."

The big picture: White House press secretary Jen Psaki said later Tuesday that the Biden administration was advising "against any Americans, whether elected or not, attempting to travel to Kabul right now," CBS News notes.

  • House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) Pelosi wrote to lawmakers earlier on Tuesday urging them not to travel to Afghanistan following requests by the Defense and State Departments.
  • "Member travel to the Afghanistan and the surrounding countries would unnecessarily divert needed resources from the priority mission of safely and expeditiously evacuating America and Afghans at risk from Afghanistan," Pelosi said.

For the record: Moulton served in the Marine Corps in Iraq, Meijer in the Army.

  • Meijer also conducted humanitarian aid work with a nongovernmental group in Afghanistan.

Editor's note: This article has been updated with new details throughout.

Go deeper

Sep 23, 2021 - World

WHO: Nearly 1 in 4 Afghan COVID hospitals shut after Taliban takeover

A family member stands beside a COVID-19 patient at the Muhammed Ali Jinnah hospital in Kabul, Afghanistan, in June. Photo: Wakil Kohsar/AFP via Getty Images

Afghanistan's health system is "on the brink of collapse" due to international funding cuts since the Taliban took over the country, World Health Organization officials said Wednesday.

The big picture: Nine of Afghanistan's 37 COVID-19 hospitals have closed and "all aspects" of the country's pandemic response have declined, including testing and vaccination, per a statement from WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus following his visit to the capital, Kabul, where he met with Taliban leaders.

Senate GOP pushes DOJ to roll back Trump oversight rule

Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Senate Republicans want the Justice Department to roll back Trump-era restrictions on congressional oversight criticized at the time as an attempt to insulate the Trump administration from Democratic investigators, Axios has learned.

Why it matters: While some Republicans spoke out against the DOJ guidance at the time, it was mostly Democrats who attacked it as a constitutionally dubious effort to scuttle congressional oversight. Now the shoe is on the other foot, and the GOP is making similar arguments with Biden in the White House.

New Treasury waivers allow U.S. to send aid to Afghans despite sanctions

Kandahar, Afghanistan. Photo: Bulent Kilic/AFP via Getty Images

The U.S. Treasury said Friday that it has issued licenses allowing the U.S. government, NGOs and international organizations like the United Nations to engage in transactions with the Taliban or Haqqani Network to provide humanitarian assistance despite U.S. sanctions on the two militant groups.

Why it matters: There's growing concern that the punitive measures could exacerbate the crisis in Afghanistan, Reuters reports.

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