Democratic Massachusetts Rep. Seth Moulton called on President Joe Biden to cut through bureaucracy and get American allies out of Afghanistan Wednesday.
Moulton, a veteran himself, joined CNN’s Poppy Harlow on Wednesday to discuss the State Department’s efforts to get American citizens and allies out of Afghanistan after the Taliban took control of the country. (RELATED: Moulton Blasts Trump: ‘I’d Like To Meet The American Hero That Went To Vietnam In His Place’)
Harlow asked how important it might be for the Biden administration to commit to staying past the Aug. 31 deadline if there were still American citizens or allies on the ground in Afghanistan.
“It’s absolutely imperative. They must make that commitment, and they must follow through. And this is a commitment I’ve been asking them to make for months now when I told them to start the evacuation before we get to a point like this,” Moulton said.
Harlow then shared a clip of Moulton in a June hearing on Capitol Hill, calling on Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin and Gen. Mark Milley to fast track the Special Immigrant Visas (SIVs) for Afghan interpreters and their families.
“It’s too late for the Special Immigrant Visa process. Secretary Austin, why have you not started an evacuation yet? These Afghan and American heroes, people who we asked to risk their lives, not just for Afghanistan, but for America because we had their backs,” Moulton said at the time. “Their future is in your hands. And this much is certain. The Taliban will kill them if they can. And they will rape and murder their wives and kids first if they can. Chairman Milley, if the service chiefs were ordered to evacuate our allies today, is there a plan in place to get that started immediately?”
“General Milley calls it a moral imperative. You call it a moral imperative. Have you had any response from the White House or the State Department to your call now to get them out and deal with the paperwork later?” Harlow asked.
“I mean, essentially no,” Moulton replied, pointing out that in addition to the problem of getting people safely on flights to the U.S., there was the added complication of those who were outside Kabul and couldn’t safely get to the airport because of Taliban checkpoints.
Moulton said that he did have faith the State Department would not leave allies behind in the country, adding, “We’re the United States of America. If we can put a man on the moon, we can figure out how to get people out of Afghanistan.”
“Have you talked to the president since Sunday?” Harlow pressed.
“I have not. Look, I’m not — I’m not sitting here on TV and criticizing President Biden because I’m trying to get attention or something. This is just the right thing to do,” Moulton concluded. “So, I don’t really care whether the president wants to talk with me or not. I just want him to execute this mission. I want him to get it right. And I want him to get it right because it’s good politics, but more fundamentally, it up holds our values and it’s the right thing to do.”