Seven US civilians carrying firearms on a private plane were arrested in Dubai last week after trying to enter Afghanistan during the US evacuation, a report said.
The would-be vigilantes wanted to assist the deadly military-led evacuation efforts from Kabul’s airport, before they were caught with firearms by United Arab Emirates officials on August 31, the last day of the pullout, according to Newsweek.
“The passengers reportedly planned to assist Afghanistan evacuation efforts but had no approved onward travels plans,” a State Department cable obtained by the magazine reportedly read. The US Consulate General in Dubai was reportedly “engaging with authorities on the issue.”
The arrests came on the same day the military left Afghanistan after evacuating tens of thousands of Americans and Afghan associates from the nation following the allied government’s shocking and rapid fall to the Taliban.
“We are aware of reports of U.S. citizens detained and then released in Dubai,” the State Department reportedly said.
Bronx Congressman Ritchie Torres, who is the vice-chair of the House Homeland Security Committee, told the magazine the incident is troubling.
“The attempt by armed Americans to enter Afghanistan for reasons unknown is cause for alarm,” the Democrat told the outlet. “The Department of Justice must investigate who these people are, what were their intentions and motivations, and what, if any, ties do these individuals have to extremism here at home.”
Neither Torres nor The Department of State immediately responded to inquiries from The Post.
The allegedly armed Americans were not the first US civilians who tried to take matters into their own hands in Afghanistan, after two decades of warfare ultimately failed to shield the country from radical Islamic rule.
Rep. Markwayne Mullin, an Oklahoma Republican, attempted to organize a rouge rescue mission to Kabul to extract an American woman and her four kids, amid the desperate American exit, which was widely seen as a shameful fiasco.
Mullin planned to fly to nearby Tajikistan and hire a helicopter to fly the expatriate translator out of harm’s way.
The lawmaker’s plan did not get off the ground, and he issued threats to embassy officials that declined to help his plan, which flew in the face of widespread do-not-travel warnings from US authorities, according to The Washington Post.