Republican senators Wednesday unveiled a bill that aims to direct the State Department to list the Taliban as a terrorist organization and the "illegitimate Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan as a state sponsor of terrorism."
The Preventing Recognition of Terrorist States Act was introduced by GOP Sens. Marco Rubio of Florida, Tommy Tuberville, Alabama; Shelley Moore Capito, West Virginia; Dan Sullivan, Alaska; Thom Tillis, North Carolina; and Cynthia Lummis, Wyoming, reports The Hill.
In addition, the bill seeks sanctions on foreign actors who "knowingly provide assistance to the Taliban," while mandating a report to determine if the Taliban "should be designated as a significant foreign narcotics trafficker under the Narcotics Kingpin Designation Act," and to ensure no taxpayer money goes to foreign terrorist organizations in Afghanistan, according to a statement from Rubio's office.
"There is no doubt that a Taliban-controlled Afghanistan poses a direct threat to our national security interests and that of our allies and partners both in the Middle East and in Central Asia," Rubio said. "Following the Biden administration’s disastrous military withdrawal from Afghanistan, the country is already becoming a safe haven for terrorists who hate America."
President Joe Biden, he said, will likely not treat the Taliban like terrorists, so "Congress must take action to deal with this new reality and keep Americans safe.
Former President George W. Bush named the Taliban as Specially Designated Global Terrorists in July 2002, but the State Department doesn't include the organization on its official list of foreign terrorist groups.
The letter comes after Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., and Rep. Michael Waltz,R-Fla., introduced resolutions also calling on the State Department to declare the Taliban's takeover of Afghanistan as a "coup d'etat" and name it a foreign terrorist organization.
Further, Sen. Joni Ernst, R-Iowa, and GOP Sens Rick Scott of Florida, Dan Sullivan of Alaska, and Tommy Tuberville of Alabama, have sent a letter to Secretary of State Antony Blinken calling for the Taliban to be designated as a terrorist organization.
"That is important because then we have greater flexibility," Ernst told Newsmax Wednesday. "We can really flex our muscle and the law and push to the extent of the law with this terrorist organization. That means we really do have leverage and cutting back the amount of aid that goes to Afghanistan to the Taliban, and it is absolutely something that should be done."
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