CHARLESTON – U.S. Senator Shelley Moore Capito and 3rd District MP Carol Miller are working on issues related to the U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan and the resulting problems in getting Americans and Afghan supporters and personnel out of the country .
In a statement released Monday, Capito, RW.Va., announced that she was joining 27 of her fellow Republican Senate colleagues in supporting Afghanistan’s counterterrorism, surveillance and accountability law.
The bill was introduced by US Senator Jim Risch, R-Idaho, a senior member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. Capito said the bill seeks to resolve many of the outstanding issues and questions regarding President Joe Biden’s administration’s withdrawal plans and the future of relations with Afghanistan.
“The botched withdrawal of the Biden administration from Afghanistan has left the Americans and our allies stranded in a state controlled by the Taliban. said Capito. “There has been a lack of accountability and a failure of the White House, the State Department and the Defense Department to take responsibility for their unreasonable mistakes in foreign policy. “
The Afghanistan Counterterrorism, Oversight, and Accountability Act would create a task force within the State Department that would focus exclusively on the evacuation of the remaining Americans from Afghanistan, as well as Afghan green card holders and Afghans with special immigrant visas. The bill would put in place a plan to expedite the approval and processing of SIV applications.
The bill also requires the United States to create counterterrorism strategies; determine the status of US military equipment left in the country; authorizes sanctions against Taliban officials and foreign governments and organizations that support the regime and engage in terrorism, drug trafficking and human rights violations; advises against recognizing Taliban officials as US or UN ambassadors; a review of assistance to the rule of those who support the Taliban; and restrictions on non-humanitarian assistance in the country.
“This legislation would take necessary measures that the administration has failed to implement, such as putting in place a strategy to evacuate those left behind, sanction the Taliban, restrict and review any future aid to the country. “, he added. said Capito.
On the House side, Miller, a Republican who represents counties in southern West Virginia, joined 21 Republican and Democratic House members to write a letter to Biden on Thursday.
The letter asks the Biden administration for advice on which Congressional offices are supposed to respond to requests from Americans, Afghan green card holders, and Afghans with special immigrant visa status.
“The Congressional offices have been the primary, and often the only, point of contact for thousands of men, women and children surviving under brutal Taliban rule… We believe it is the duty of your administration. to immediately issue guidelines for members of Congress on how we can better assist those who contact our office to request immediate direction, ” the joint letter indicated.
The State Department issued a total of 34,400 visas under the SIV program, including an additional 8,000 SIV since July 30, a month before the withdrawal of US troops from Hamid Karzai International Airport. Most of Afghanistan is now in the hands of the Taliban, an organization of Islamic extremists who once controlled the country and housed al-Qaeda, the group responsible for the 9/11 attacks. Taliban attacks on Afghan citizens who do not strictly adhere to Sharia have been reported.
“We continue to receive horrific evidence directly, such as videos, photographs and audio messages documenting the destruction and damage inflicted on our American voters and allies at the hands of the Taliban. For many of those who have contacted our offices, we are their first point of contact. It is we who give them hope that the United States has not forgotten their service to our country and that we will honor our promise not to abandon them to an almost certain fate ”, said the letter.
The United States invaded Afghanistan in 2001, helping to establish a friendly government. The United States entered negotiations with the Taliban under former President Donald Trump to begin withdrawing US and coalition forces from the country, an effort that continued under Biden.
According to a survey released Monday by the Associated Press and the NORC Center for Public Affairs Research, 72% of those polled said they supported granting refugee status to those who worked with the US and Afghan governments before the fall. of the country in the hands of the Taliban. Of the 53,000 Afghans in US military bases overseas, 14,000 are expected to start arriving in the US as early as this week.
(Adams can be contacted at [email protected])