MS Senators co-sponsor bill to address president’s ‘mishandling’ of withdrawal from Afghanistan

Sen. Cindy Hyde-Smith
Sen. Cindy Hyde-Smith
Published: Oct. 4, 2021 at 6:06 PM CDT
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WASHINGTON, D.C. (WLBT) - U.S. Senators Roger Wicker and Cindy Hyde-Smith have co-sponsored a bill that would address “outstanding issues related to the Biden administration’s “ill-planned and disastrous” withdrawal from Afghanistan.

Monday, Wicker announced on his social media page that the two had authored S.B. 2863, or the Afghanistan Counterterrorism, Oversight and Accountability Act.

The measure would, among other things, establish a State Department task force to help evacuate American citizens and others who were not evacuated when the U.S. military left the country this summer.

The bill also would impose oversight on the processing of Afghan special visa holders and refugees coming to the United States, require the development of strategies to do away with U.S. equipment captured by the Taliban and would sanction the Taliban and others for terrorism, drug trafficking and human rights abuses.

“The United States needs a complete plan of action to address the many problems created by President Biden’s haphazard withdrawal from Afghanistan,” Wicker said. “This legislation would ensure the State Department takes full responsibility for evacuating American citizens an Afghan allies, while also ensuring the U.S. never recognizes the illegitimate Taliban leadership of Afghanistan.”

FILE - In this Thursday, May 27, 2021 file photo, Sen. Roger Wicker, R-Miss., arrives as...
FILE - In this Thursday, May 27, 2021 file photo, Sen. Roger Wicker, R-Miss., arrives as senators go to the chamber for votes ahead of the approaching Memorial Day recess, at the Capitol in Washington. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite, File)(J. Scott Applewhite | AP)

The Taliban began taking control of the war-torn country when the U.S. started withdrawing in May, nearly two decades after the war began. In August, the group retook Kabul, Afghanistan’s capital city.

2863 would authorize the U.S. to sanction not only the Taliban, but also other foreign nations for providing support. Provisions of the measure also would assert that the U.S. would not recognize any member of the Taliban as an ambassador to the U.S. or to the United Nations.

The measure was originally introduced by Republican Sen. Jim Risch, of Idaho and now has nearly 30 co-sponsors.

“President Biden’s mishandling of the withdrawal from Afghanistan created new security threats for our nation and our allies,” Hyde-Smith said. “This important legislation would bring much needed guidance on how we begin restoring our standing in the world as we deal with the new terrorist-led regime now running Afghanistan.”

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