US Congress passes bill to counter foreign support for Taliban

WASHINGTON — The US House of Representatives on Tuesday passed H.R. 6586, a bill introduced by U.S. Congressman Tim Burchett, which mandates a strategy to oppose financial or material support by foreign countries to the Taliban.

“Thirteen brave U.S. servicemembers, including my constituent Army Staff Sergeant Ryan Knauss, lost their lives in the Afghanistan withdrawal. We need to make sure our tax dollars don’t go toward the terrorists who killed them,” Burchett said.

The bill includes the following provisions:

The Secretary of State must report on countries providing assistance to the Taliban, detailing the amount of aid and how the Taliban has utilized it.

The Secretary of State is required to develop a strategy to deter foreign nations from aiding the Taliban and to assess whether such countries should continue to receive U.S. assistance.

A report on Direct Cash Assistance Programs in Afghanistan must be produced, identifying partners and recipients of direct cash aid, describing the payment processes, and explaining measures to prevent the Taliban from accessing this assistance.

A report on the Afghan Fund must be compiled, listing Taliban members working at Da Afghanistan Bank (Afghanistan’s central bank), describing the Taliban’s influence over the bank and the Afghan Fund’s Board of Trustees, and detailing controls in place to ensure funds are not diverted to the Taliban.

With the passage of this bill, the U.S. State Department is now mandated to report which countries, in addition to the United States, have provided aid to Taliban-controlled Afghanistan since 2021.

The legislation also calls on the State Department to urge other nations to ensure their aid does not reach the Taliban.

The U.S. government has announced that over the past three years, it has provided more than $2 billion in aid to Afghanistan, distributed through humanitarian organizations such as the United Nations to assist the Afghan people.

The State Department emphasized that its partner relief organizations have implemented necessary measures to prevent the Taliban from accessing U.S. financial assistance.