Source: United States House of Representatives – Representative Scott Franklin (FL-15)
WASHINGTON—Representative Scott Franklin (FL-15) last night introduced the Preventing the Recognition of Terrorists Act, a critical bill to prevent the federal government from recognizing the Taliban’s claim over Afghanistan and designate the group as a Foreign Terrorist Organization. Original co-sponsors of this bill include Reps. William Timmons (SC-04), Tracey Mann (KS-01), Greg Steube (FL-17), Rep. Randy Weber (TX-14), and Brian Babin (TX-36).
“The Taliban is a ruthless and cowardly terrorist organization, and should be treated as such. The U.S. government has no business legitimizing a group that spent the last two decades killing and maiming Americans, our allies, and innocent civilians,” said Rep. Franklin. “My bill will officially designate the Taliban as a terrorist organization. I’m pleased to partner with Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL), who sponsored this legislation in the Senate. While we feel this should be an issue on which all sides can agree, sadly our Democrat colleagues have not chosen to join this effort.”
In addition to designating the Taliban as an FTO, Rep. Franklin’s bill would place certain funding prohibitions and limitations on the Taliban as they relate to the federal government, including: requiring USAID to ensure that humanitarian assistance in Afghanistan or any other state in which Foreign Terrorist Organizations hold territory or wield substantial power does not go to foreign terrorist organizations and prohibiting appropriated funds from going to any government whose duly elected head of government is deposed by Coup d’état.
The bill also directs the Secretary of State to designate the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan as a state sponsor of terrorism. The Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan is the Taliban’s name for the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan. Sanctions would also be imposed on foreign persons who knowingly provide assistance to the Taliban and the bill would repeal the sections of the Iran Freedom and Counter-Proliferation Act of 2012 that provided an exception in Iran sanctions for facilities and sectors necessary for Afghan reconstruction.
Once enacted, Rep. Franklin’s bill would require several reports from the Secretary of State, including: a report determining whether or not the Taliban should be designated as a narcotics trafficker within six months of enactment; an assessment by U.S. Customs and Border Protection on whether the importation of rare earth metals extracted from Afghanistan violate prohibitions on goods made with forced labor; an annual report from the Secretary of State on several countries’ diplomatic relations with the Taliban and on foreign persons that knowingly provide assistance to the Taliban; and an annual report from the Secretary of State on Pakistan’s actions to provide safe harbor to designated foreign terrorist organizations.
Prior to the U.S. invasion of Afghanistan, the Taliban allowed al-Qaeda to use Afghanistan as a training ground to plan the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks. After the invasion, Taliban forces engaged in cowardly terrorist attacks against American and coalition forces, in addition to civilians. This unlawful use of violence clearly fits the commonly accepted definition of “terrorism.” Following the U.S. invasion of Afghanistan, the Taliban continued to aid and abed al-Qaeda and would later develop ties to the infamous Haqqani Network.
In August, President Joe Biden ordered a hasty and haphazard withdrawal of U.S. forces and personnel from Afghanistan. The Biden Administration’s decision to fully withdraw by August 31st telegraphed American intentions, abandoning our Afghan allies and allowing the Taliban to advance rapidly across the country. During the evacuation, it was revealed that the Biden Administration provided the personal identifiable information of Americans and allies to the Taliban, effectively providing the group a target list from which it could kill, kidnap, and extort those included.