A group of Republicans led by Florida Senator Marco Rubio will introduce legislation designating the Taliban as a foreign terrorist organization and recognizing their government as a de facto terrorism-promoting administration.
According to Fox News, Rubio is expected to introduce the legislation on Wednesday, Sept. 15, intending to prohibit federal departments and agencies from taking any action that indicates or implies recognition of the Taliban’s claim of sovereignty over Afghanistan.
The Republican Senators joining Rubio on the legislation are Shelley Moore Capito of West Virginia, Dan Sullivan of Alaska, Thom Tillis of North Carolina, Tommy Tuberville of Alabama, and Cynthia Lummis of Wyoming.
The legislation proposes, among other issues, an annual State Department report indicating which countries have “diplomatic relations” with the Taliban and organizations that assist the de facto government.
Concerning humanitarian aid, the legislation provides for any U.S. funds applied in Afghanistan to be administered by third parties not involved with the Taliban. The same applies to any country whose government is not the product of a free democratic election.
Another sticking point addressed by the legislation is the issue of importing “rare earths” from Afghanistan. If the bill passes, U.S. Customs and Border Protection will be required to assess whether importing these materials violates prohibitions on goods made using forced labor.
The fear over this issue stems from the fact that specialists have long been announcing the possibility that the Chinese communist regime is aligning itself with the Taliban in an attempt to exploit Afghanistan’s rare earth metals.
Just hours after the Taliban invaded Afghanistan, a Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman said Beijing was ready for “friendly cooperation with Afghanistan,” CNBC reported promptly.
The Republican proposal comes a week after the Taliban officially announced themselves as “rulers” of Afghanistan, following the U.S. withdrawal of its entire military and diplomatic representatives.
On the matter, White House press secretary Jen Psaki said last week, “There’s no rush to recognition, and that will be dependent on what steps the Taliban takes.” She added that she did not have a “timeline” on whether and when the Biden administration would recognize the Taliban.
In addition, the White House plans to continue to provide humanitarian aid to the people of Afghanistan. However, he did not specify how to ensure that those funds remain out of the Taliban’s reach.
The Biden administration’s response to the Taliban’s self-proclamation of power did not convince Republicans, who variously voiced their criticism.
Marco Rubio, who is among the Republicans most critical of the Biden Administration’s controversial withdrawal from Afghanistan, on Tuesday, Sept. 14, spoke at a Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing on Afghanistan and told Secretary of State Antony Blinken that the Biden Administration’s disastrous Afghanistan withdrawal is evidence that “we have the wrong people making military and diplomatic decisions in our government.”