Congressman Barred From Entering Afghanistan For Criticizing Government

Congressman Dana Rohrbacher won’t be allowed to visit Afghanistan:

Rep. Dana Rohrabacher, a senior member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, said Monday he was denied entry into Afghanistan because of his critical views of that country’s government.

“Apparently, [Afghanistan President Hamid] Karzai just goes bananas every time he hears that I might be, in some way, coming into his country,” Rohrabacher said in a phone interview with POLITICO on Monday while he waited in Qatar for a flight back to the U.S.

Rohrabacher also suspected that Karzai was picking on him because he had opened a House investigation into corruption not only within the Afghan government but also Karzai himself.

The California Republican, who chairs the committee’s oversight panel, was stopped in Dubai Friday as part of congressional delegation on its way to Kabul. “Absolutely he believes his denial is based on his vocal opposition to [Afghan President Hamid] Karzai and Dana’s relationship with the former Northern Alliance leaders,” Rohrabacher spokesperson Tara Olivia Setmayer said.

Rohrabacher was a last minute addition to the trip led by Rep. Louis Gohmert (R-Texas) when another member dropped out a few days earlier. “When Karzai found out Dana was a part of the [congressional delegation], he told the State Dept the entire CODEL would be denied if Rohrabacher was included,” Setmayer said.

And, remember, these our are “friends.”

FILED UNDER: Afghanistan War, Asia, Congress, Quick Takes, US Politics, World Politics,
Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug Mataconis held a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010 and contributed a staggering 16,483 posts before his retirement in January 2020. He passed far too young in July 2021.


  1. legion says:

    Rohrabacher was a last minute addition to the trip led by Rep. Louis Gohmert (R-Texas) when another member dropped out a few days earlier.

    Wow. When Louie “Complete Nutball” Gohmert is considered more desirable company than you, that’s a pretty sick burn. Well-played, Afghanistan.

  2. Hey Norm says:

    Being that this is all from Rohrbacher’s office, and not from Karzai or the Afghanistans…it’s probably only about half-true.
    Having said that…there really isn’t a bigger douche in Congress. (Well, outside Cantor and Ryan.) So…couldn’t happen to anyone better.

  3. Tsar Nicholas says:

    Karzai has been a major disappointment, granted, but when the alternative is the Taliban / al Qaeda then you simply have to find a way to make it work.

  4. @Tsar Nicholas:

    In 15 years, Karzai is going to be the strong man of Afghanistan, and all those photos of current pols shaking hands with him are going to be as embarassing as the ones of Rumsfeld shaking hands with Saddam Hussein.

  5. al-Ameda says:

    It’s a Win/Win situation for both Karzai and Rohrabacher.

    (1) Karzai disrespects a blustery attention whoring United States Representative and avoids and any unpleasant time-wasting conversation with Rohrabacher, and (2) Rohrabacher gets the attention that he demands and craves, and he doesn’t have to go to Afghanistan for that.

    If only the war went so well.

  6. legion says:

    @Tsar Nicholas: Only if you assume Karzai is the _only_ alternative. Frankly, a damp rag with an ugly necktie wrapped around it would be about as effective in exerting any sort of “control” in that region…

  7. EddieInCA says:

    They should have barred him just for being such a moron. Dana Rohrabacher is symptomatic of everything wrong with today’s politics.

    1. He’s a moron.
    2. When confronted with his moronic-ness*, he doubles down rather than admit he’s a moron.
    3. When confronted about the obvious problems his specific policy positions, he responds with a version of “Why do you hate America?”

    * I know that’s not a word, but it fits Rohrabacher.