This week, 22 Senate Republicans introduced a bill that would put sanctions on the Taliban and any other government that is assessed to have supported them. The Taliban-led government in Afghanistan reacted to the legislation on Thursday.
According to TOLO News, the Taliban’s Interior Ministry said sanctions from the US would be a repeat of their failures in Afghanistan and called on Washington to engage them with negotiations instead of force.
“[The US] must have taken a good lesson about the use of force in the past 20 years, during which they haven’t gained anything by force. The Afghans want good relations,” an Interior Ministry official said.
The legislation, known as the Afghanistan Counterterrorism, Oversight, and Accountability Act, named Pakistan as a supporter of the Taliban and would require the State Department to evaluate the relationship. Pakistan also responded to the bill and said it never provided military support to the Taliban.
“The US is accusing us that we facilitated the Taliban, but we only facilitated them to bring them to the table at the request of the US,” said Sheikh Rasheed, Pakistan’s interior minister.
The bill was led by Senator Jim Risch (R-ID) and would establish a State Department task force to focus on the evacuation of US citizens and permanent residents who are still in Afghanistan. The legislation would also require that the US would not recognize any member of the Taliban as an ambassador to the US or the UN.
The US has not recognized the new Taliban government and has frozen billions in Afghan government reserves. Like sanctions, withholding money from the war-torn country will do little to change the Taliban but will have a negative impact on the civilian population that is facing food and cash shortages.