09.29.21

Rounds, Colleagues Introduce the Afghanistan Counterterrorism, Oversight and Accountability Act

WASHINGTON—U.S. Senator Mike Rounds (R-S.D.), member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, ranking member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee Jim Risch and others introduced the Afghanistan Counterterrorism, Oversight and Accountability Act, legislation to address the outstanding issues related to the administration’s rushed and disastrous withdrawal from Afghanistan.

“The refusal to listen to commanders on the ground, failure to provide sufficient resources to execute visa processing requirements and groupthink among senior Biden administration advisors caused the withdrawal from Afghanistan to be chaotic and deadly. Congress has an opportunity to act and address the many consequences of the president’s botched withdrawal. Our legislation prioritizes the safe evacuation of Americans and Afghan partners still stranded in Afghanistan while holding the Taliban accountable for their terrorist acts and human rights abuses. I will work with my colleagues to keep Americans safe and terrorism at bay,” said Rounds.

“I’ve asked the administration for a plan and while they say they have one, they have not revealed any details of a plan. My office is still working with Special Immigrant Visa applicants who supported America’s effort in Afghanistan. Now families, including children, of these Afghans are in danger of execution. We have a responsibility to get them out. Congress has an obligation to engage in oversight of these activities. I hope the administration would work with us in passing this essential legislation in an expedient, bipartisan manner,” added Rounds.

In addition to Rounds, other cosponsors of this bill include Senators Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), Ron Johnson (R-Wis.), Mitt Romney (R-Utah), Rob Portman (R-Ohio), Todd Young (R-Ind.), John Barrasso (R-Wyo.), Bill Hagerty (R-Tenn.), John Thune (R-S.D.), Rick Scott (R-Fla.), Susan Collins (R-Maine), Mike Crapo (R-Idaho), Richard Burr (R-N.C.), Roger Wicker (R-Miss.), Jerry Moran (R-Kan.), John Boozman (R-Ark.), John Hoeven (R-N.D.), Dan Sullivan (R-Alaska), Cindy Hyde-Smith (R-Miss.), Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.), and Roger Marshall (R-Kan.). 

This legislation:

  • Establishes a State Department task force to focus on the evacuation of American citizens, legal permanent residents, and Afghan Special Immigrant Visas (SIVs) who are still stuck in Afghanistan.
  • Imposes oversight mechanisms on the processing of SIVs and refugees.
  • Requires strategies for counterterrorism and for the disposition of Taliban-captured U.S. equipment.
  • Sanctions the Taliban and others in Afghanistan for terrorism, drug-trafficking, and human rights abuses.
  • Authorizes sanctions on those providing support to the Taliban, including foreign governments supporting the Taliban.
  • States that the United States should not recognize any member of the Taliban as the ambassador of Afghanistan to the United States or as the ambassador of Afghanistan to the United Nations.
  • Calls for a comprehensive review of foreign assistance to entities that support the Taliban.
  • Places restrictions on non-humanitarian foreign assistance to Afghanistan.

Text of the legislation can be found here.

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