Sen. Joni Ernst wasted no time bringing the hammer down on the Biden administration for calling the Taliban “businesslike and cooperative, saying that such comments were an “outrage” because after the group took over Afghanistan, they employed the “same antics we have seen before,” noting they need to be deemed a terrorist organization.
“This Taliban 2.0 is not at all a new Taliban,” the Iowa Senator, a Republican, went on to say during a chat on Newsmax’s “Wake Up America.” “We see the same antics that we have seen before, the brutal beatings of women and girls in the street. They are pursuing American citizens and others that helped American forces while we were engaged in the global war on terror … this is not the new, friendlier Taliban. This is the same old terrorist organization that we have fought in the past and that has supported other terrorist networks in Afghanistan.”
Ernst, along with GOP Sens. Rick Scott of Florida, Dan Sullivan of Alaska, and Tommy Tuberville of Alabama, have sent a letter to Secretary of State Antony Blinken calling for the Taliban to be designated as a terrorist organization.
Former President George W. Bush designated the Taliban as “Specially Designated Global Terrorists” in 2002, but the current list of foreign terrorist organizations does not include them.
“That is important because then we have greater flexibility,” Ernst went on to say during her appearance on Newsmax. “We can really flex our muscle and the law and push to the extent of the law with this terrorist organization. That means we really do have leverage and cutting back the amount of aid that goes to Afghanistan to the Taliban, and it is absolutely something that should be done.”
Meanwhile, there is also a concern about whether Afghan refugees are being fully vetted before they arrive in the United States, and Ernst said the administration should have started that process months before Afghanistan fell.
“Sen. Jeanne Shaheen, a Democrat of New Hampshire, and I worked on this very early on this past spring, really pressing the State Department on the special immigrant visa holder issue, and the point was, we should have started back in the spring because we knew that vetting would be necessary,” said the senator. “The deal is, these immigrants are to be vetted before their feet hit American soil. The State Department has really failed in working with a number of these third-country nations. The idea would be to evacuate those immigrants into third countries and that them before they ever came to the United States.”
She then went on to note that the State Department has “fallen down in so many different areas in so many ways, and especially when we were given a heads up, months and months and months ago. They have failed. The president has failed, obviously, with the withdrawal of Afghanistan, and I don’t know how we overcome this debacle easily. “