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US lawmakers call for probe into Pak role in Taliban win in Afghanistan

Washington – A bill was introduced in the US Senate calling for a probe into Pakistan’s support to the Taliban for the 2021 offensive that toppled the Afghan government and Taliban’s attack in the Panjshir Valley.

The bill titled the ‘Afghanistan Counterterrorism, Oversight, and Accountability Act’, aims to address the outstanding issues related to the Administration’s rushed withdrawal from Afghanistan.

More than 20 US Senators on Tuesday introduced the bill and demanded sanctions on the Taliban in Afghanistan and the foreign governments that support the outfit, The News International reported.

“Not later than 180 days after the date of the enactment of this Act, and not less frequently than annually thereafter, the Secretary of State, in consultation with the Secretary of Defense and the Director of National Intelligence, shall submit to the appropriate congressional committees a report on entities providing support to the Taliban,” the bill says.

It further call for an assessment of “support by state and non-state actors, including the Government of Pakistan, for the Taliban between 2001 and 2020, provision of sanctuary space, financial support, intelligence support, logistics and medical support, training, equipping, and tactical, operational, or strategic direction; (2) an assessment of support by state and non-state actors, including the Government of Pakistan, for the 2021 offensive of the Taliban that toppled the Government of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, including the provision of sanctuary space, financial support, intelligence support, logistics and medical support, training, equipping, and tactical, operational, or strategic direction; (3) an assessment of support by state and non-state actors, including the Government of Pakistan, for the September 2021 offensive of the Taliban against the Panjshir Valley and the Afghan resistance; and (4) a detailed description of United States diplomatic and military activities undertaken to curtail support for the 2021 offensive of the Taliban that toppled the Government of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan.”

Ranking member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Senator Jim Risch, said, “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.”

Pakistan has been accused of providing support to the Taliban.

Early this month, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken noted that Pakistan has “harboured” members of the Taliban including the terrorists from the proscribed Haqqani network.

During the Senate hearing early this month, lawmakers cutting across the party lines demanded more severe action against Islamabad for its subversive role in Afghanistan.

The top two members of the committee, New Jersey Democrat Bob Menendez and Idaho Republican James Risch, both assailed the withdrawal as a debacle in their opening remarks and demanded action against Pakistan for “double-dealing in Afghanistan”.