May 31, 2023

Cassidy, Risch, Colleagues Introduce Taliban Sanctions Act

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senators Bill Cassidy, M.D. (R-LA), Jim Risch (R-ID), and 17 colleagues introduced the Taliban Sanctions Act to hold the Taliban accountable with sanction for terrorism, human rights abuses, drug trafficking, and more.

“Since the fall of Afghanistan, we saw the Taliban erase 20 years of work to advance human rights, freedom, and democracy,” said Dr. Cassidy. “The goal of sanctions is not just to punish, but reverse course on the Taliban’s horrendous actions. We hope these sanctions force the Taliban to bend.”

“Since the fall of Kabul in 2021, the Taliban has repressed Afghanistan’s women, minorities, and youth, diverted aid from Afghans in desperate need, taken hostages to achieve political gain, and allowed Afghanistan to once again become a safe-haven for terrorists. Unfortunately, the Biden Administration’s response has failed to curtail Taliban abuses,” said Senator Risch. “We cannot simply scold the Taliban and expect it to change conduct. With the U.S. withdrawal and Taliban’s ascent to power, Afghanistan has become a pariah state and our policies should reflect this reality. As the Taliban attempts to be recognized as a legitimate government at the United Nations, I’m proud to introduce legislation that underscores the status quo is unacceptable and imposes real penalties for the Taliban’s conduct. I hope the committee will move this bill quickly.”

The Taliban Sanctions Act includes: 

  • Sanctions relating to support for terrorism.
  • Sanctions relating to human rights abuses.
  • Sanctions relating to drug trafficking.
  • Support for multilateral sanctions with respect to the Taliban.

The Taliban Sanctions Act establishes clear benchmarks for the suspension of sanctions against the Taliban, to include demanding the Taliban:

  • Publicly and privately break all ties with other terrorist groups, including al Qaeda.
  • Take verifiable measures to prevent the use of Afghanistan as a platform for terrorist attacks against the United States or partners or allies of the United States, including by denying sanctuary space, transit of Afghan territory, and use of Afghanistan for terrorist training, planning, or equipping.
  • Provide humanitarian actors with full, unimpeded access to vulnerable populations throughout Afghanistan without interference or diversion.
  • Respect freedom of movement, including by facilitating the departure of foreign nationals, applicants for the special immigrant visa program, and other at-risk Afghans by air or land routes, and the safe, voluntary, and dignified return of displaced persons.
  • Support the establishment of an inclusive government of Afghanistan that respects the rule of law, press freedom, and human rights, including the rights of women and girls.

Cassidy and Risch were joined by U.S. Senators John Boozman (R-AR), Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV), Pete Ricketts (R-NE), Mike Braun (R-IN), Rick Scott (R-FL), Ted Budd (R-NC), John Hoeven (R-ND), Joni Ernst (R-IA), Lindsey Graham (R-SC), Susan Collins (R-ME), Todd Young (R-IN), John Cornyn (R-TX), Marco Rubio (R-FL), John Thune (R-SD), Thom Tillis (R-NC), James Lankford (R-OK), and Ted Cruz (R-TX) in introducing the bill.