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Updated on: Saturday, August 28, 2021, 05:08 PM IST

US pullout: 68 US lawmakers question President Biden on his plans to counter China and Taliban in Afghanistan

Post the fall of Kabul, there has been much talk about how China could seize the moment to fill the vacuum left behind by the US and expand its presence and influence there
ANI
Taliban fighters travel with weapons mounted on a vehicle in Kabul on August 19, 2021 | Photo: AFP

Taliban fighters travel with weapons mounted on a vehicle in Kabul on August 19, 2021 | Photo: AFP

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Washington: Amid the US withdrawal from Afghanistan which will have many geopolitical and strategic consequences, a group of 68 Congress lawmakers asked President Joe Biden to "outline" his plan to "move America forward", and urged him to make sure that the Taliban do not destabilise Pakistan and acquire nuclear weapons.

In a letter dated August 24 addressed to the US President, 68 members from the House of Representatives and the Senate, also asked Biden to answer critical questions on the downfall of Afghanistan and what his plans are.

Post the fall of Kabul, there has been much talk about how China could seize the moment to fill the vacuum left behind by the US and expand its presence and influence there.

Earlier, a high-profile meeting took place between Taliban leaders and Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi last month.

Expressing concern about these issues, the US lawmakers asked Biden, "What is your plan to counter the Chinese Communist Party's growing relationship with the Taliban? Regarding the situation in Afghanistan that has rapidly metastasized into Taliban rule with reinstated oppression of women and girls, the repression of civil society, the displacement of countless Afghans from their homes, the lawmakers asked, "What is your plan to evacuate Afghan SIVs and other vulnerable Afghans like women, girls, and former Afghan civil service employees from Afghanistan?; Do you have a plan to protect prominent women journalists, scholars, and employees of prominent non-government organizations?; and will you ensure that religious and ethnic minorities, like the Hazaras, are also prioritized for PI/P2 visas within this evacuation sequence?" The lawmakers also asked whether the Biden administration will continue its non-combatant evacuation operation post the Taliban deadline of August 31.

"Will you commit to abandoning the arbitrary August 31 withdrawal deadline and continue non-combatant evacuation operation until all Americans, allies, and at-risk Afghans are processed for evacuation?" read their letter.

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The lawmakers also asked Biden to lay out his plan on ensuring that Al Qaeda does not "resurge and regain a foothold in Afghanistan." "What 'over the horizon' operations are you prepared to use to counter this threat?" they asked, noting that the intelligence community has cautioned against al Qaeda and ISIS-K getting full liberty from the Taliban to use Afghanistan as a safe haven to train and equip for future terrorists.

They also enquired about Afghan security forces' former personnel, equipment, and infrastructure that have now passed into the hands of the Taliban. "What is your plan to ensure that more US and Afghan military equipment does not end up in the hands of the Taliban?; What is your plan to reclaim U.S. military equipment that has already fallen into the hands of the Taliban?" read the letter.

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Published on: Saturday, August 28, 2021, 05:08 PM IST
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