Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senator Susan Collins joined 21 of her colleagues in introducing the Afghanistan Counterterrorism, Oversight, and Accountability Act. The legislation, led by Senator Jim Risch (R-Idaho), the ranking member of the Foreign Relations Committee, would address the outstanding issues related to the Administration’s rushed and disastrous withdrawal from Afghanistan.
“The chaotic withdrawal from Afghanistan was as awful as it was avoidable. It was unwise and unrealistic for the Administration to stick to its arbitrary August 31st deadline, which resulted in hundreds of Americans and tens of thousands of our most loyal allies—drivers, translators, guides, and others—and vulnerable Afghans such as women leaders being left behind in Afghanistan in dire jeopardy,” said Senator Collins. “Our legislation would help hold the Administration accountable and prioritize the complete evacuation of Americans, SIVs, and refugees. Additionally, it would impose sanctions on the Taliban and its supporters, sending a clear message that the United States denounces the Taliban’s human rights abuses and terrorism.”
The Afghanistan Counterterrorism, Oversight, and Accountability Act would:
· Establish 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.
· Impose oversight mechanisms on the processing of SIVs and refugees.
· Require strategies for counterterrorism and for the disposition of Taliban-captured U.S. equipment.
· Sanction the Taliban and others in Afghanistan for terrorism, drug-trafficking, and human rights abuses.
· Authorize 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.
· Call for a comprehensive review of foreign assistance to entities that support the Taliban.
· Place restrictions on non-humanitarian foreign assistance to Afghanistan.
In addition to Senators Collins and Risch, the legislation was co-sponsored by 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.), Mike Rounds (R-S.D.), Bill Hagerty (R-Tenn.), John Thune (R-S.D.), Rick Scott (R-Fla.), 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.).
Click HERE to read the bill text.