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Republicans urge Biden to designate Taliban as terrorist group

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
Republican senator Joni Ernst (Iowa)

Several GOP senators have urged the US President Joe Biden to designate the Taliban as a terrorist group, calling it “a significant threat to the United States.”

“Since reestablishing control of Afghanistan, the Taliban resumed the same murderous and oppressive habits that characterized their leadership tenure prior to the arrival of US forces in 2001,” the senators, led by Joni Ernst, wrote in a letter to Secretary of State Antony Blinken on Wednesday.

The senators mentioned the Taliban’s approach towards the civilians, including women, as one of the reasons behind their demand.

They also slammed the appointment of Sirajuddin Haqqani, wanted by the FBI, as Afghanistan’s acting interior minister.

“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. Further, the Taliban display the will and the means to attack Americans and American interests,” the senators added.

The letter comes after two prominent Republican senator, Lindsey Graham and Michael Waltz, introduced a resolution on Tuesday, asking the Biden administration to recognize the Taliban as a terrorist organization and call the group's takeover of Kabul a “coup d’etat.”

“This resolution is one of the most important things Congress can do regarding the takeover of Afghanistan by the Taliban,” Graham said in a statement.

“Designating the Taliban as a Foreign Terrorist Organization will make it harder for countries to provide them aid and recognition. We would be sending a strong signal that America does not do business with terrorist groups and their sympathizers. The Taliban are radical jihadists in every sense of the word and use terror as their tactic,” he noted.

Over the past weeks, the Biden administration has been under fire over its chaotic withdrawal of the US forces from Afghanistan, which led to the Taliban’s takeover of Kabul.

Biden’s exit, which effectively ended the United States’ two-decade war in Afghanistan, has led to an infighting in the US, where politicians pin blame on each other for the return of the Taliban to power.

The United States and a number of its allies invaded Afghanistan and toppled a Taliban regime there in late 2001 under the pretext of the so-called "war on terror." The invasion and the ensuing war, however, gravely worsened the security situation in the country.

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