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Republicans turn up the heat on Biden to designate the Taliban as a foreign terrorist organization

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Republicans are ramping up pressure on the Biden administration to declare the Taliban a terrorist organization.  

Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., is introducing a bill Wednesday demanding Congress and the Biden administration designate the Taliban as a foreign terrorist organization and the Afghanistan government they run as a state sponsor of terrorism.   

The legislation would ban federal agencies from taking any action that implies recognition of the Taliban’s claim of sovereignty over Afghanistan, among other priorities. 

The Sunshine State Republican is also proposing that the State Department provide an annual report on which countries have ‘diplomatic relations’ with the Taliban, and whether any entity ‘knowingly’ provides assistance to them. 

Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., is introducing a bill Wednesday demanding Congress and the Biden administration designate the Taliban as a foreign terrorist organization

Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., is introducing a bill Wednesday demanding Congress and the Biden administration designate the Taliban as a foreign terrorist organization

The Taliban completed their takeover of Afghanistan last month, ahead of the US withdrawal

The Taliban completed their takeover of Afghanistan last month, ahead of the US withdrawal 

Armed Taliban fighters escort veiled women marching during a pro-Taliban rally outside Shaheed Rabbani Education University in Kabul on September 11

Armed Taliban fighters escort veiled women marching during a pro-Taliban rally outside Shaheed Rabbani Education University in Kabul on September 11

The State Department does not label the Afghan Taliban as a Foreign Terrorist Organization but does sanction the group as ‘Specially Designated Global Terrorists,’ which freezes their assets and bars Americans from working with them. 

Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., and Rep. Mike Waltz, R-Fla., introduced a resolution on Tuesday calling on the State Department to designate the Taliban as terrorists and calling to freeze all assets of the Afghan government in the US and work to make sure other countries do the same.

The resolution also calls on the department to declare the Taliban takeover a ‘coup d’etat’ and to use its ‘authority and influence’ over international institutions to pressure them to deny funds to the Taliban. 

‘The Biden Administration has misled the American public by attempting to normalize the Taliban as a transitional government but the Taliban continue to engage in terrorist activity, harbor other terrorist groups, commit human rights atrocities, deny women their basic civil liberties, and overthrew a democratically elected government,’ Waltz said in a statement. 

'Since reestablishing control of Afghanistan, the Taliban resumed the same murderous and oppressive habits that characterized their leadership tenure prior to the arrival of U.S. forces in 2001,' read a letter organized by Sen. Joni Ernst, above

‘Since reestablishing control of Afghanistan, the Taliban resumed the same murderous and oppressive habits that characterized their leadership tenure prior to the arrival of U.S. forces in 2001,’ read a letter organized by Sen. Joni Ernst, above 

In a letter dated Wednesday, Sen. Joni Ernst, R-Iowa, led a group of Republicans in writing to Secretary of State Antony Blinken demanding he declare the Taliban a terrorist organization. 

‘Since reestablishing control of Afghanistan, the Taliban resumed the same murderous and oppressive habits that characterized their leadership tenure prior to the arrival of U.S. forces in 2001,’ the letter, also signed by GOP Sens. Rick Scott, Fla., Dan Sullivan, Alaska, Tommy Tuberville, Ala.

They argued the ‘current version of the Taliban government presents a significant threat to the United States.’ 

The legislative action comes after the Taliban announced its interim government, which brought back many leaders from the Taliban’s oppressive reign of the 1990s. No women are part of the interim government and the ministry of women’s affairs has been removed. 

Ernst’s letter pointed to the recent appointment of Sirajuddin Haqqani, who is on the FBI’s most wanted list, as acting interior minister. Haqqani is the founder of the Haqqani network, which is designated a terrorist organization by the US. 

Biden told reporters last week that the US is a ‘long way off’ from formally recognizing the Islamist group, while Gen. Mark Milley has said that the US could collaborate with the Taliban against the Islamic State. During the Afghanistan withdrawal, the US relied on the Taliban for security around the Kabul airport. 

White House press secretary Jen Psaki said earlier this month that the US will ‘judge the Taliban by their actions’ when determining a relationship and we will ‘stay in close coordination with the international community on any steps that we take moving forward.’

On Monday, the United Nations said a total of $1.2billion in emergency aid had been pledged to Afghanistan, $64million of which came from the US.

The Taliban thanked the world for pledging more than a billion dollars, and urged the US to ‘have a heart’ and offer more.  



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