On Wednesday, a group of GOP Senators sent a letter to Secretary of State Antony Blinken urging the State Department to designate the Taliban, which overtook Afghanistan in recent weeks, as a Foreign Terrorist Organization.
"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," the letter, which was helmed by Senator Joni Ernst (R-IO), said. "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."
According to Fox News, the Taliban is a Sunni Islamist nationalist group. The organization, which controlled Afghanistan for a period of time some 20 years ago, overthrew the Afghanistan government in August after the United States decided to withdraw all troops from the country.
U.S. troops had been stationed in Afghanistan as a part of the War on Terror, which ensued in the Middle East following the al Qaeda terror attacks on the U.S. on September 11, 2001. According to Fox News, the Taliban, who controlled Afghanistan at the time of the terror attacks, worked to protect al Qaeda – a recognized FTO by the State Department – following 9/11.
For the State Department to recognize an entity as an FTO, the group must "be a foreign organization," "engage in terrorist activity," terrorism, or "retain the capability and intent to engage in terrorist activity or terrorism" and the organization's actions must "threaten the security of U.S. nationals or the national security," the State Department says on its website.
In their letter, the senators argue that the Taliban meets the criteria to be classified as an FTO.
"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," the senators wrote.
"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."
As Christian Headlines previously reported, between 100 and 200 U.S. citizens were left behind in Afghanistan after U.S. military personnel withdrew from the country on August 31.
The letter is signed by Sens. Ernst, Rick Scott (R-FL), Dan Sullivan (R-AK) and Tommy Tuberville (R-AL).
Photo courtesy: ©Getty Images/Alex Wong/Staff
Kayla Koslosky has been the Editor of ChristianHeadlines.com since 2018. She has B.A. degrees in English and History and previously wrote for and was the managing editor of the Yellow Jacket newspaper. She has also contributed to IBelieve.com and Crosswalk.com.