Romney, Colleagues Introduce Comprehensive Afghanistan Legislation

WASHINGTON—U.S. Senator Mitt Romney (R-UT) joined his colleagues, led by U.S. Senator Jim Risch (R-ID), ranking member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, in introducing the Afghanistan Counterterrorism, Oversight, and Accountability Act, legislation to address the outstanding issues related to the Biden Administration’s rushed and disastrous withdrawal from Afghanistan.

“Administrative oversight has long been a responsibility of Congress,” Senator Romney said. “The withdrawal from Afghanistan was nothing short of a humanitarian and foreign policy disaster, and the current administration must be held accountable. This legislation provides oversight tools to do just that. It includes important measures to ensure that the Administration continues to prioritize the evacuation of American citizens, green card holders, and SIVs. It would also impose sanctions on the Taliban and entities supporting it, as well as develop a counterterrorism strategy for Afghanistan in light of the ever-changing situation on the ground.”

“We continue to see the grave implications of the Biden Administration’s haphazard withdrawal from Afghanistan. An unknown number of American citizens and Afghan partners remain abandoned in Afghanistan under threat from the Taliban, we face a renewed terror threat against the United States, and the Taliban wrongly seek recognition at the UN, even as they suppress the rights of Afghan women and girls,” said Ranking Member Risch. “I’m proud to introduce the Afghanistan Counterterrorism, Oversight, and Accountability Act today to address these concerns and rebuild the United States’ credibility. I hope the committee will be able to mark it up soon so that we can quickly help those we left behind and protect America’s national security interests before it’s too late.”

This Afghanistan Counterterrorism, Oversight, and Accountability Act:

  • Establishes 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.
  • Imposes oversight mechanisms on the processing of SIVs and refugees.
  • Requires strategies for counterterrorism and for the disposition of Taliban-captured U.S. equipment.
  • Sanctions the Taliban and others in Afghanistan for terrorism, drug-trafficking, and human rights abuses.
  • Authorizes 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.
  • Calls for a comprehensive review of foreign assistance to entities that support the Taliban.
  • Places restrictions on non-humanitarian foreign assistance to Afghanistan.

Cosponsors include Senators Marco Rubio (R-FL), Ron Johnson (R-WI), Rob Portman (R-OH), Todd Young (R-IN), John Barrasso (R-WY), Mike Rounds (R-SD), Bill Hagerty (R-TN), John Thune (R-SD), Rick Scott (R-FL), Susan Collins (R-ME), Mike Crapo (R-ID), Richard Burr (R-NC), Roger Wicker (R-MS), Jerry Moran (R-KS), John Boozman (R-AR), John Hoeven (R-ND), Dan Sullivan (R-AK), Cindy Hyde-Smith (R-MS), Marsha Blackburn (R-TN), and Roger Marshall (R-KS).

Text of the legislation can be found here.