By Senator Rubio – September 15, 2021

Washington, D.C. — U.S. Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) was joined by Senators Tommy Tuberville (R-AL), Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV), Dan Sullivan (R-AK), Thom Tillis (R-NC), and Cynthia Lummis (R-WY) in introducing the Preventing Recognition of Terrorist States Act, which would direct the U.S. Secretary of State to designate the illegitimate Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan as a state sponsor of terrorism and the Taliban as a terrorist organization. The bill would also impose sanctions against foreign individuals who knowingly provide assistance to the Taliban and require a report, within six months, from the U.S. Department of State that determines whether the Taliban should be designated as a significant foreign narcotics trafficker under the Narcotics Kingpin Designation Act. Additionally, the legislation would require the U.S. government to ensure that taxpayer dollars do not go to foreign terrorist organizations in Afghanistan. Under questioning from Rubio, Secretary of State Antony Blinken acknowledged the relationship between Taliban and Al-Qaeda “has not been severed, and it’s a very open question as to whether their views and the relationship has changed in any kind of definitive way.”

Rubio is a senior member of the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations and Vice Chair of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence.

“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. Unfortunately, there is no reason to think President Biden will treat the Taliban like the terrorists they are. Congress must take action to deal with this new reality and keep Americans safe.”

“Americans are shocked and disgusted with the way the Biden administration exited Afghanistan – an exit that served to embolden the Taliban at the expense of American lives. It didn’t have to be this way,” Tuberville said. “For 20 years America has been safer and more secure against acts of terrorism because of our troops, but now the Taliban are equipped with taxpayer-funded weapons and equipment that they will only use to further their malicious agenda. The weakness of this administration has been showcased, so now it is imperative that Congress takes action to ensure that the U.S does not legitimize the Taliban and treats them as what they are – a  radical terrorist organization”.  

“Thanks to the Biden administration underestimating and underpreparing for the Taliban’s eventual takeover of Afghanistan, we’ve seen what this radical, terrorist group is capable of,” Capito said. “Not only do they aid and abet terrorist acts, they continue to violate human rights, especially those of women and young children. By designating the Taliban as a foreign terrorist organization, preventing any future U.S. aid from making its way into their hands, and cracking down on other governments who support terrorism across the world, this legislation takes necessary steps to correct the egregious foreign policy mistakes made thus far by the Biden administration.”

“The Taliban is a terrorist organization with a long history of oppressing and murdering Afghans and providing safe haven to the same Al-Qaeda terrorists who attacked us on 9/11,” Tillis said. “It is shocking that the White House would even consider giving foreign aid to the Taliban. This legislation would prevent that from happening, appropriately designating the Taliban as a terrorist organization.”

“The Taliban has a long record of human rights violations and terrorist actions,” Lummis said. “We must not exacerbate the Biden administration’s failure in Afghanistan by legitimizing the Taliban’s government. We should call the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan what it is: a state sponsor of terror run by a terrorist organization.”

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