On Monday, two congressmen from the Sunshine State–Republican U.S. Reps. Scott Franklin and Michael Waltz–teamed up with U.S. Liz Cheney, R-Wy., in warning the Biden administration about including the Taliban in any power-sharing deal as the U.S. pulls its troops out of that nation.
Cheney, Franklin and Waltz wrote U.S. Sec. of State Anthony Blinken “expressing concern with the proposed power-sharing agreement between the Afghan government and Taliban, and the May 1 deadline for troop withdrawal from Afghanistan.”
Both Franklin and Waltz serve on the U.S. House Armed Services Committee. Waltz, the first Green Beret to serve in Congress, was an aide to Cheney’s father, former Vice President Dick Cheney.
“We write with grave concern for U.S. security amid the approaching May 1 deadline set for troop withdrawal from Afghanistan. As you are aware, more terrorist organizations operate along the Afghan-Pakistan border than any other region in the world. The intelligence community has consistently reported that al Qaeda, ISIS, and other groups remain committed to attacking the United States. A U.S. withdrawal will allow these groups to thrive and maintain safe havens from which they can plan and train for attacks on the West,” the three Republicans wrote Blinken.
“We are deeply concerned by your letter to President Ghani as well as the reported draft Afghanistan Peace Agreement, which calls for the Afghan government to form a ‘transitional’ government with the Taliban. Since engaging in so-called peace negotiations, the Taliban has maintained its close relationship with al Qaeda and has continued to attack innocent civilians and Afghan and American forces,” they wrote.
“The United States should not sponsor or support any power-sharing agreement that effectively requires the Afghan government to rely on the Taliban for basic governing decisions, as the reported agreement would. There is no evidence that the Taliban is willing to share power. They have explicitly rejected democratic elections. The State Department’s draft agreement also places the Afghan National Security Forces under the control of a security committee partially consisting of Taliban-appointed representatives—even as the Taliban continues to uphold its strong alliance with al Qaeda. America’s support for the ANDSF has created stability in the region and the U.S. must not abandon this partnership by legitimizing the Taliban,” they continued.
“Al Qaeda will thrive in the vacuum created by a Taliban-led government and an American withdrawal, posing a threat to our diplomats and the homeland. The U.S. military may then be faced with the contingency of returning to Afghanistan. Under the draft agreement, however, the United States will likely have to request permission from the Taliban—which continues to be allied with al Qaeda—to base U.S. forces, for any type of Status of Forces Agreement, and for overflight authorities,” they added.
“Forcing the Afghan government to dissolve and share power with the Taliban for political expediency in Washington threatens U.S. security. We implore you to reconsider this power-sharing agreement and the withdrawal of U.S. forces, both of which destabilize Afghanistan and the region and undermine U.S. interests and security,” they urged in conclusion.
Reach Kevin Derby at firstname.lastname@example.org.