Republican senators are demanding that the Biden administration designate the Taliban as a terrorist organization, saying that after the group took control of Afghanistan it has "resumed the same murderous and oppressive habits" that it had before U.S. forces arrived there in 2001 after the 9/11 attacks.
The lawmakers, led by Sen. Joni Ernst., R-Iowa, said in a letter, dated Wednesday, to Secretary of State Antony Blinken that the "current version of the Taliban government presents a significant threat to the United States," reports The Hill.
The letter was also signed by GOP Sens Rick Scott of Florida, Dan Sullivan of Alaska, and Tommy Tuberville of Alabama.
Former President George W. Bush designated the Taliban as "Specially Designated Global Terrorists" in 2002, but the current list of foreign terrorist organizations does not include them.
The four senators pointed to the Taliban's treatment of civilians under the new regime, including women. News outlets reported last week that Taliban members had beaten women protesting the announcement that its governing cabinet was all men.
The international community has become increasingly skeptical of the Taliban's claims that it will support the rights of women and not attack old enemies.
In their letter, the senators also noted the appointment of Sirajuddin Haqqani as acting interior minister. He is wanted by the FBI and is the leader of the Haqqani network, which the United States designated as a terrorist organization in 2012.
"The Taliban display the will and the means to attack Americans and American interests," the senators also said in their letter, arguing that the organization meets the criteria needed to designate it as a foreign terrorist organization and said it should be treated "as such to the maximum extent of the law."
The letter comes after Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., and Rep. Michael Waltz introduced resolutions also calling on the State Department to declare the Taliban's takeover of Afghanistan as a "coup d'etat" and to declare it a foreign terrorist organization.
"This resolution is one of the most important things Congress can do regarding the takeover of Afghanistan by the Taliban," Graham said in a statement. "Designating the Taliban as a foreign terrorist organization will make it harder for countries to provide them aid and recognition. We would be sending a strong signal that America does not do business with terrorist groups and their sympathizers. The Taliban are radical jihadists in every sense of the word and use terror as their tactic."
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