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Sen. Lindsey Graham during a July news conference at the U.S. Capitol. Photo: Kevin Dietsch/Getty Images

Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) and Rep. Mike Waltz (R-Fla.) introduced resolutions Tuesday calling on Secretary of State Antony Blinken to designate the Taliban as a terrorist organization and freeze all Afghanistan government assets held in the U.S.

Why it matters: Then-President George W. Bush signed an executive order in 2002 listing the Taliban as a "Specially Designated Global Terrorist Entity." But the group doesn't appear on the State Department's list of Foreign Terrorist Organizations (FTO).

  • Bush's order is "narrowly focused on financial transactions, lacking the teeth" of an FTO listing, per AFP.
  • Sirajuddin Haqqani, who is wanted by the FBI for terrorism offenses and is the leader of the Haqqani network — designated an FTO by the U.S. — is the all-male interim Afghan government's acting interior minister.

What they're saying: Graham said in a statement that designating the Taliban as an FTO would "make it harder for countries to provide them aid and recognition."

  • "We would be sending a strong signal that America does not do business with terrorist groups and their sympathizers," he said.
  • Waltz added in the joint statement that the Taliban "continue to engage in terrorist activity, harbor other terrorist groups, commit human rights atrocities, deny women their basic civil liberties, and overthrew a democratically elected government."

The other side: A State Department spokesperson said in an emailed statement it wouldn't comment on the pending legislation, but noted that the U.S. had since amended Bush's order "by adding the Taliban to the annex of certain designated individuals and entities."

Editor's note: The secretary of State's first name was corrected to Antony Blinken.

Go deeper

19 hours ago - World

Taliban exclude Afghan teen girls from attending school

Afghan girl students wearing facemasks attend a class in Herat on Aug. 22, 2020. Photo: Hoshang Hashimi/AFP via Getty Images.

The Taliban reopened Afghan secondary schools on Saturday for only boys, effectively banning teen girls from receiving a formal education, the Wall Street Journal reports.

Why it matters: The move raises new fears that the Taliban will break public promises and impose severe restrictions on women's rights similar to those implemented in the 1990s.

28 U.S. citizens depart Afghanistan on Qatar Airways flight

Passengers board a Qatar Airways aircraft bound to Qatar at the airport in Kabul on September 10, 2021. Photo: Aamir Qureshi/AFP via Getty Images

The State Department on Saturday confirmed that a Qatar Airways charter flight left Kabul on Friday with 28 U.S. citizens and seven lawful permanent residents on board.

The big picture: Friday's flight is the third such airlift by Qatar Airways since the Taliban takeover of Afghanistan, AP reports.

Sep 17, 2021 - World

UN Security Council extends Afghan mission by six months

UN Secretary-General António Guterres attends a press conference on Afghanistan in Geneva on Sept. 13, 2021. Photo: Fabrice Coffrini/AFP via Getty Images

The United Nations Security Council on Friday authorized a six-month extension of the UN's political mission in Afghanistan.

Why it matters: The move will allow Secretary-General António Guterres to compile the necessary information to determine "strategic and operational recommendations" in light of the Taliban's takeover.

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