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GOP Senators Call for Foreign Terrorism Designation for Taliban

A number of Republicans are urging the Biden administration to nominate the Taliban, the jihadist militant group that now controls Afghanistan, a foreign terrorist organization, according to reports.

Senator Ernst (R-Iowa) asked Secretary of State Antony Blinken to make the designation in a letter signed by GOP Sens. Rick Scott from Florida, Dan Sullivan from Alaska and Tommy Tuberville from Alabama, Fox News reported on Wednesday.

“Since reestablishing control of Afghanistan, the Taliban have resumed the same murderous and oppressive habits that characterized their tenure before the arrival of US forces in 2001,” the senators wrote in the letter obtained by Fox News. .

“Even when the administration concluded the withdrawal of US and allied forces from Afghanistan, we saw public attacks on individuals, beatings of women and girls, and search teams actively pursuing allies and partners, ”the letter reads.

They say that the most disturbing aspect of the fall of Afghanistan “is that among those beaten and pursued by Taliban forces were American citizens and their families still living in Afghanistan.”

Senator Rubio (R-Fla.) Is expected to introduce legislation on Wednesday requiring the Biden administration and Congress to designate the Taliban as a foreign terrorist organization and the newly installed Afghan government as a state sponsor of terrorism, Fox News reported.

The legislation, the report said, would bar federal departments and agencies from recognizing the Taliban’s claim to sovereignty over Afghanistan.

Senator Rubio is expected to introduce a bill on Wednesday.
GRAEME JENNINGS / POOL / AFP via Getty Images

It would also require the State Department to report annually on which countries have “diplomatic relations” with the Taliban and whether foreign persons “knowingly” provide aid to the jihadist group.

The measure would also force the US Treasury Department to impose sanctions on people providing assistance to the Taliban.

Rubio’s legislation is supported by GOP Sens. Shelley Moore Capito from West Virginia, Dan Sullivan from Alaska, Thom Tillis from North Carolina, Cynthis Lummis from Wyoming and Tuberville.

The State Department has designated al-Qaeda as a foreign terrorist organization, but not the Taliban.

HOSHANG HASHIMI / AFP via Getty Images
The measure would also force the US Treasury Department to impose sanctions on people providing assistance to the Taliban.
HOSHANG HASHIMI / AFP via Getty Images

In Ernst’s letter, senators point out that Sirajuddin Haqqani, a terrorist wanted by the FBI for killing Americans, has been appointed interior minister by the Taliban in their new government.

“Given their history of supporting terrorist attacks against the United States, their brutal governance style, their continued display of atrocities against Americans and our allies, and now their enhanced military capability, the current version of the Taliban government poses a significant threat to the United States, ”they write.

“We… urge you to consider designating the Taliban as a foreign terrorist organization and treating them as such to the fullest extent of the law,” the letter said.

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken
Blinken said on Monday that the Taliban must allow freedom to travel “if they want to seek any legitimacy.”
MANDEL NGAN / POOL / AFP via Getty Images

Blinken was asked whether the administration would recognize the Taliban during a House hearing on Monday.

“If they want to seek any legitimacy or any support, it starts with the freedom to travel,” he said, noting that charter flights have still not been allowed to leave Mazar Airport. i-Sharif.

He also said the Taliban should live up to their commitments not to allow terrorist groups to use Afghanistan as a base, as al Qaeda did in preparation for the 9/11 attacks.

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