GOP lawmakers press Biden admin on whether Afghanistan aid was ‘ransom’ payment to Taliban

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Biden administration asked to disclose whether it has offered to unfreeze assets or ease sanctions on Taliban

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Members of the House Republican Study Committee on Thursday pressured the Biden administration to explain whether it has offered financial relief to the Taliban to ensure safe passage for Americans still in Afghanistan, arguing that humanitarian aid would effectively serve as a “payment of the ransom”. Group.

In a letter addressed to beleaguered Secretary of State Antony Blinken, lawmakers expressed concern about the State Department’s recent decision to set aside about $64 million in humanitarian aid for Afghanistan following the US withdrawal. Republicans have long argued that the Taliban could confiscate the money.

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The lawmakers said, “We have serious concerns about negotiations with the Taliban to pay the ransom – whether marketed as humanitarian aid or sanctions relief – that would give the Taliban resources that could be used to attack the United States or our allies.” to be done.”

“Ransom payments to terrorists, including a September 13 announcement of $64 million in humanitarian aid to Taliban-controlled Afghanistan, provided without railings, encourage Americans to abduct the Taliban and other terrorist groups. Will harm. More Americans,” the letter added.

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The lawmakers asked Blinken to explain whether the Biden administration has offered to unfreeze assets or ease sanctions on Taliban members in order to secure safe passage for Americans still in Afghanistan, with the Taliban as such. relief is requested or not.

Republicans also called on the State Department to provide Congress with any documents or communications related to discussions regarding financial relief for the Taliban.

Republican Study Committee chairman Jim Banks, R-Ind., was one of 21 members of the caucus who signed the letter. Other signers included Reps Dan Crenshaw of Texas, Tracy Mann of Kansas and Mike Waltz of Florida.

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Earlier this week, Blinken said $64 million in aid would “flow through independent humanitarian organizations” to provide direct assistance to Afghans in the form of food, water, medical care and other necessities.

Blinken and President Biden have insisted the administration will take steps to prevent the Taliban from accessing humanitarian funds. The Biden administration also sealed US assets in Afghanistan after the Taliban takeover.

“The United States will also work with the international community to ensure that the Taliban adhere to its commitments and ensure that unhindered humanitarian access, freedom of movement for aid workers of all genders, the safety and security of humanitarian workers, and for all Follow the safe route. Those who want to leave Afghanistan,” Blinken said in a statement.

Blinken and other top Biden administration officials have faced intense bipartisan pressure to deal with the withdrawal. Republicans have repeatedly asked Biden to give a clearer explanation of how his administration is still planning a safe passage for Americans inside Afghanistan.

“The State Department still hasn’t presented a plan to Congress outlining how it will ensure Americans don’t lag behind through diplomatic negotiations,” said Republican Study Committee members.


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