Michael McCaul, Chairman of the US House Foreign Affairs Committee, has opposed the Biden administration’s repeated attempts to “downplay the Taliban’s terrorist activities and normalize relations with them.”
In a statement issued on Monday, McCaul expressed concerns that the administration is trying to hide the fact that the Taliban continues to maintain ties with al-Qaeda.
According to the statement, in a recent House Foreign Affairs Committee hearing, top Biden administration officials attempted to “downplay the Taliban’s terrorist ties in an effort to exclude them from an updated authorized use of military force (AUMF).”
The Biden administration has claimed that the Taliban is meeting its counterterrorism obligations under the Doha agreement by working to defeat ISIS-K (Daesh).
However, McCaul emphasized that the Taliban and al-Qaeda are working together against Daesh as part of an internal power struggle that has been ongoing since 2014. The Taliban has never severed its ties with al-Qaeda, which is designated as a foreign terrorist organization (FTO) by the United States.
McCaul, however, reiterated that the Taliban had never cut ties with al-Qaeda and that they are working together to “defeat their shared enemy ISIS-K as part of an internal struggle for power that has been going on since 2014.”
“If the Taliban were truly upholding their counterterrorism obligations, they would work to defeat al-Qaeda instead of paying, protecting, and employing them,” McCaul said.
McCaul expressed his grave concerns that the Biden administration is trying to hide these facts from the American people to exclude the Taliban from a future AUMF and normalize relations with them.
“I will not stand by and allow them to do this,” he said.
Meanwhile, during the same hearing, Acting Undersecretary Victoria Nuland made a claim that Afghanistan allies who worked for the US government were not being hunted down by the Taliban.
“I don’t believe that we’ve seen a consistent pattern of those Afghans who worked and supported our efforts in Afghanistan being murdered by the Taliban,” Nuland said.
McCaul, however, found this claim to be grossly inaccurate, and citing a UN report he highlighted numerous confirmed acts of violence against allies.
“It is grossly inaccurate for Acting Undersecretary Nuland to claim the Taliban isn’t targeting those Afghans who aided the United States – that the Biden administration abandoned in 2021. There are thousands of confirmed acts of violence against Afghan allies, including many who have been murdered. Once again,” he said, “Biden administration is lying to the American people about the destruction they caused in Afghanistan. It’s shameful.”