Mariam: Texas mom, 3 kids rescued from Afghanistan in first land evacuation
OK Rep Markwayne Mullin and team worked 'round the clock' to rescue stranded US citizen, slams State Dept's claims of help as 'flat out lie'
A week after formally exiting Afghanistan, the United States made its first successful land evacuation, helping get a mother and her three children out of the country. Oklahoma Rep. Markwayne Mullin took to Fox News on September 6 to share details of his trip to the Middle East, to help rescue Mariam and her children. The State Department later confirmed it had helped facilitate Mariam's rescue, without sending troops or diplomats into Afghanistan.
The daring evacuation is the first land-based evacuation by the US out of Afghanistan, Until August 31, the country ran flights out of Kabul airport, the last remaining area of Afghanistan not in Taliban control. Special Ops veterans also chipped in, under 'Pineapple Express' to rescue Americans unable to make it to the airport. On August 30, the Department of Defense shared the last-ever image of the US in Afghanistan, as Maj. Gen. Chris Donahue boarded a C-17 as the last soldier to leave Afghan soil.
Since then, the US has promised to resort to diplomatic routes as there are still many Americans stranded in the country. On September 6, we got our first look at how that could possibly take shape, thanks to Mullin. As we earlier reported, Mullin went missing on September 1, after he traveled to Afghanistan to help rescue stranded Americans. He's now back safely in the states, with a daring story to add about the rescue of Mariam.
Who is Miriam?
The young mother of three went to Kabul to see her parents before the Taliban takeover. Reportedly, her parents were seeing her children for the first time. What should have been a lovely family moment quickly turned into horror as the Taliban took control of the city, leaving her stuck in Kabul. The family was unable to make it into the Hamid Karzai Airport in Kabul in time for the evacuation flights, CNN reported. Her efforts to enter the airport led the Taliban to begin looking for her, sparking her US-based contacts to act.
The team, led by veteran Cory Mills first got Mariam to a safe house outside Kabul, before attempting to get her on a private charter flight from Mazar-i-Sharif airport. However, the flight was never cleared for takeoff. She had all but given up hope but was urged to keep trying but her US-based contacts. Those same contacts also got in touch with Rep. Mullin, who helped facilitate their evacuation. Together, they managed to get Mariam and her family out of Afghanistan via a land border, whose details are being kept secret so it can be used again. On September 6, Mariam and her family were finally back on US soil, in Texas as confirmed by Rep. Ronny Jackson.
After 2 weeks & multiple life threatening attempts, I am overjoyed to share that 4 U.S. citizens from #TX13 were part of the first successful ground evacuation since the U.S. left Kabul. Thank you to Cory Mills & the other patriots on his team for saving these BRAVE Americans! pic.twitter.com/1Tv9KRUgcE— Ronny Jackson (@RepRonnyJackson) September 6, 2021
Little else is known about Mariam and her family. Before the Taliban takeover, they were just one of the many immigrant families living under the radar, but they are now in the headlines after daring rescue efforts in which the State Department played little role. The government did try to take credit for the rescue but was instantly slammed by Mullin, Jackson, and others.
State Dept attempts to save face
On September 6, the State Department announced that the "U.S. has facilitated the safe departure of four US citizens by overland route from Afghanistan. Embassy staff was present upon their arrival." In an email to Fox News, a spokesperson added, "The Department assisted four Americans to depart Afghanistan via an overland route on Monday. We provided guidance to them, worked to facilitate their safe passage, and Embassy officials greeted the Americans once they had crossed the border."
However, that's extremely false, those directly involved in the operation say. Mills told Fox, "This is an attempt to save face by the administration for the Americans they left behind... It's like we carried the ball to the 99-and-a-half yard line and them taking it that last half yard and being like "look what we did"." Mullin added to that criticism, calling the department's words a "flat out lie", and adding, the credit belongs to a "team of patriots who worked around the clock for two weeks to get them out, despite the many roadblocks from the State Department."
Mullin sat down for an extensive interview with Fox News and echoed those sentiments. He claims he tried to enter Afghanistan via Tajikistan, but was refused help by the ambassador there. "I have a list of 50 (American citizens) that want out, that haven't got out," he added. Mullin said he and Mills' private team were still working to help those stranded in Afghanistan, but warned not everyone would make it back to the US.