GOP lawmakers call on State Department to designate Taliban as terrorist group

Blinken testifies twice this week on Afghanistan exit

Sen. Bill Haggerty, R-Tenn., on Secretary of State Antony Blinken getting grilled on the Afghanistan withdrawal during a Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing.

Two resolutions were introduced in the House and Senate Tuesday by Republicans Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina and Rep. Mike Waltz of Florida, calling on the State Department to designate the Afghan Taliban as a Foreign Terrorist Organization (FTO.)


“Designating the Taliban as a Foreign Terrorist Organization will make it harder for countries to provide them aid and recognition,” Graham said in a statement.  “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 added.

Under George W. Bush the Taliban was designated as a terrorist organization on Sept. 23, 2001 for allowing safe haven to Usama bin Laden and al-Qaeda. 

But by July 2, 2002, Bush revoked the designation due to the “significantly altered” situation in Afghanistan following the “success of the military campaign” there. 

A State Department spokesperson declined to comment on the resolutions introduced Tuesday.

The Biden administration has said they will continue to watch how the Taliban govern Afghanistan and have warned them not to allow it to become another breeding ground for terrorist activity. 

Tehrik-e Taliban Pakistan (TTP), also known as the Pakistani Taliban, was designated as a FTO by the secretary of State in 2010 for their efforts to combat Pakistani security forces.

The lawmakers pointed to members appointed to the Taliban’s interim government last week, which included members like Sirrajudin Haqqani.

The lawmakers also pointed to members appointed to the Taliban’s interim government last week, which included members like Sirrajudin Haqqani.

The ‘Seeking Information’ poster issued by the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation for Sirajuddin Haqqani, who is Afghanistan’s newly appointed acting interior minister. FBI/Handout via REUTERS    THIS IMAGE HAS BEEN SUPPLIED BY A THIRD PARTY

Haqqani was named by the insurgent group as acting interior minister and is known as the leader of the Haqqani Network — a group that has also been designated as a terrorist organization by the U.S. 

In addition, Haqqani is a wanted man with a $10 million bounty on his head and is “a specially designated global terrorist,” according to the FBI.

Other members of the Taliban that were longtime Guantanamo Bay captives were also appointed to the newly formed government. 

“We must be clear-eyed about the threat we face in Afghanistan and that begins with recognizing the reality on the ground – the Taliban are terrorists,” Waltz said in a statement. “The Biden Administration has misled the American public by attempting to normalize the Taliban as transitional government but the Taliban continue to engage in terrorist activity, harbor other terrorist groups, commit human rights atrocities, deny women their basic civil liberties, and overthrew a democratically elected government.”

The lawmakers have also called on the Secretary of State to declare the Taliban takeover of Afghanistan a coup d’etat and to deny the Taliban regime any U.S. funding. 

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