Republicans Propose Tougher Sanctions Against Taliban Over Human Rights Concerns

Sanctions are related to terrorism, human rights abuse and drug trafficking.

A group of Republican senators on Wednesday introduced a bill that would punish the Taliban for their violations of human rights, and their connection to terrorist activity in Afghanistan, Fox News first reported.

The Taliban Sanctions Act, which was introduced by Sen. Jim Risch (R-Idaho) and 18 other GOP senators, compels President Joe Biden’s administration to impose sanctions on the Taliban by blocking any transactions associated with the group’s property. It would also invalidate current and future U.S. visas for the group.

“We cannot simply scold the Taliban and expect it to change conduct,” Risch told Fox News. “With the U.S. withdrawal and Taliban’s ascent to power, Afghanistan has become a pariah state and our policies should reflect this reality.”

Sanctions are related to terrorism, human rights abuse and drug trafficking.

Senate Foreign Relations Chairman Bob Menendez (D-N.J.) told HuffPost he was unfamiliar with the bill. “I’ll look at it,” he said. “I’m not a fan of the Taliban.”

The proposal comes ahead of the second anniversary of the U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan, and as the Taliban consolidates power in the country despite being unrecognized internationally.

The United Nations identified Afghanistan as enduring the most critical humanitarian crises worldwide in 2023. The Taliban, which regained power in the country in August 2021, specifically targets girls and women, denying them the chance to receive an education beyond primary school and restricting their fundamental freedoms.

The bill lays out several conditions the Taliban must fulfill to avoid further sanctions, including cutting ties with terrorist groups, acknowledging women’s rights and allowing aid groups to have access to people.

Following the U.S. drone strike in Kabul last August that resulted in the death of Ayman al-Zawahiri, the leader of Al Qaeda, concerns have emerged regarding the Taliban’s commitment to sever with terrorist groups and that Afghanistan would become a terrorist safe haven again.

The Biden administration was widely criticized over the chaotic withdrawal from Afghanistan.

In a 121-page report last August, Republicans on the House Foreign Affairs Committee held the Biden administration accountable for its perceived lack of readiness and accused it of disseminating misleading details about the withdrawal. The White House has said the report was inaccurate.

Arthur Delaney contributed reporting.

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