Congressional candidate Cory Mills went to Afghanistan to successfully rescue Americans still on the ground in the war-torn nation. Now he’s upset President Joe Biden’s administration wants credit.
Mills, an Army combat veteran, spoke to Fox News’ Brian Kilmeade on Tuesday about what the news network billed as the first ground evacuation of American citizens. Mills became involved with rescuing family through communications with the office of U.S. Rep. Ronny Jackson, a Texas Republican.
“Congressman Jackson and I know each other,” Mills said. “There’s a mutual respect there.”
Mills rescued a woman identified only as Mariam, along with her three children, he said. She lives in Jackson’s district, and Mills said U.S. Rep. Markwayne Mullin, an Oklahoma Republican, was also heavily involved.
With a background in special ops, Mills said he was able while working with the representatives to develop an extraction plan. Initially, they wanted to airlift the family out, but U.S. Central Command and the State Department did not authorize a private aircraft landing in Afghanistan for the rescue. (Notably, Rep. Michael Waltz of Florida has called on the State Department to authorize more such landings.)
“I could have put 25 Americans, Brian, onto that plane,” Mills told Kilmeade.
But the plane could not land and was waived off without explanation.
Instead, Mills had to go into Afghanistan with an interpreter and evacuate the family by land, then he took them to the aircraft to leave the region.
The State Department on Monday announced it had facilitated the first land evacuation of Americans from Afghanistan, presumably referencing the family Mills led out.
“We have facilitated the departure of four American citizens from Afghanistan via an overland route. Our Embassy greeted the Americans as they crossed the border into the third country,” a State official told Reuters.
But Mills said that’s taking credit for a mission the administration did not help with at all.
“There’s quite a bit of inaccuracies there,” Mills said.
For one, State Department officials say the Taliban government now running Afghanistan did not interfere with the rescue, but Mills said that’s not the case. A Taliban commander at the border initially said there was no agreement to allow any Americans to pass and leave the country.
Eventually, Mills said he had to trick border agents into letting the Americans pass through with a number of ruse phone calls and transfers.
“That allowed us to pass them through at the eighth hour,” he said.
Mills called it “absolute nonsense” the State Department helped and said tourist visas were only secured after his team had the Americans out of the country.
Mills is running for a seat in Congress, and is filed against U.S. Rep. Stephanie Murphy, a Winter Park Democrat, in Florida’s 7th Congressional District.