U.S. Senator Joni Ernst (R-Iowa), a veteran of the Global War on Terrorism and member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, led her colleagues in calling on the Biden Administration to recognize the Taliban as a terrorist organization.
In a letter to Secretary of State Blinken, Ernst and her colleagues write, “Since reestablishing control of Afghanistan, the Taliban resumed the same murderous and oppressive habits that characterized their leadership tenure prior to the arrival of U.S. forces in 2001. Even as the administration concluded the withdrawal of U.S. and allied forces from Afghanistan, we saw public attacks on individuals, beatings of women and girls, and search teams actively pursuing allies and partners. Most concerning to us is that among those beaten and chased by Taliban forces were American citizens and their families still living in Afghanistan.”
They go on to say, “The Taliban appointed Sirajuddin Haqqani, the leader of the Haqqani network and a known terrorist wanted by the FBI for the murder of American citizens, as Interior Minister and allowed terror organizations to join the government. Given their history of supporting terror attacks on the United States, their brutal style of governance, their continued display of atrocities against Americans and our allies, and now, their enhanced military capability, the current version of the Taliban government presents a significant threat to the United States…We believe the Taliban easily meets all three criteria and urge you to consider designating the Taliban as a foreign terrorist organization and treating them as such to the maximum extent of the law.”
Last week, Ernst joined fellow Senate Armed Services Committee members in calling on Chairman Jack Reed (D-R.I.) to exercise the committee’s authority by holding hearings on the mishandled U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan.
Ernst also pressed the Biden Administration on details regarding the status and recovery methods of American citizens, green card holders, and Special Immigrant Visa (SIV) applicants in Afghanistan, including what measures the administration is taking to keep these people safe until they can get out of Afghanistan.