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Rep. John Carter (R-Texas) and Del. Madeleine Bordallo (D-Guam) also traveled to Afghanistan on the Congressional delegation but did not attend the meeting with National Front leaders, Gohmert said.
The meeting came to light after news reports surfaced that Rohrabacher had been asked not to enter Afghanistan. Gohmert said Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta called him and said there could be a problem if the Congressman enters the country.
Rohrabacher then spoke with Clinton, who urged him to remain behind in Dubai.
“She went into this long explanation of how Karzai is going absolutely bananas about me coming to Afghanistan and he is just blowing a gasket,” Rohrabacher said in a phone interview today from Doha, Qatar. “She just said, ‘Look I’ve got so many things I want to do. ... This might make many things I’m trying to do fail.’”
Rohrabacher said he complied with Clinton’s request, but he added that he thinks the State Department should have stood up for him and used the squabble as an opportunity to confront Karzai.
“While I was happy to comply with our secretary of State, I think that sometimes you can be so risk averse to making someone mad that you don’t do the right thing,” he said. “Somebody needs to look Karzai in the face and say: ‘Face reality. Dana is just the messenger of your problems, he’s not the cause of your problems.’”
Rohrabacher is the chairman of the Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations, and he said the State Department shouldn’t allow countries to ban chairmen of relevant subcommittees.
“I think there is a bad precedent,” he said. “It just indicates there are a lot of people who really don’t think that the legislative branch deserves to be participating in setting policy, when in fact the legislative branch plays a major role in setting policy.”
A request for comment from the State Department was not returned this afternoon.
This is not the first time Rohrabacher has been unwelcome in the Middle East. Last year, an Iraqi spokesman said he is banned in the country after the Californian suggested that Iraq should pay back the United States for what it has spent on the war there since 2003.
Rohrabacher, like Gohmert, has advocated for a change in course in Afghanistan, including unseating Karzai. And through his subcommittee, he held a hearing asking the government to investigate Karzai’s personal finances.
Rohrabacher has a long history with National Front leaders. He and Gohmert met with them in Berlin last year, and Rohrabacher famously spent several days on the front lines with the Northern Alliance in the 1980s war against the Soviets.