House Committee on Natural Resources Ranking Member Bruce Westerman (R-Ark.), Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations Ranking Member Paul Gosar (R-Ariz.) and Subcommittee on Energy and Mineral Resources Ranking Member Pete Stauber (R-Minn.) sent a letter to U.S. Geological Survey Acting Director Dave Applegate, requesting information pertaining to the extent of the Taliban’s ability to develop Afghanistan’s natural resources. In part, the members wrote:

“As we observed the 20th anniversary of the September 11th terrorist attacks, President Biden’s recent abandonment of Americans, Afghan allies, and military assets to the Taliban left our nation dismayed. Throughout the withdrawal process, the President claimed his Administration planned for every contingency. Despite these assurances, the Biden Administration inadequately considered the impacts of the Taliban gaining control of Afghanistan’s critical minerals. Prior to President Biden’s withdrawal, U.S. military service members were placed in harm’s way to provide security for civilian U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) scientists who made more than 250 trips to Afghanistan to research the country’s natural resources. Therefore, we seek to assess the extent of the natural resources and U.S. taxpayer funded research the Taliban will exploit.”

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