Giménez to introduce measure blocking US taxpayer dollars from going to the Taliban
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EXCLUSIVE – Republican Rep. Carlos Giménez is expected to roll out what he describes as a "very simple" bill: "No U.S. taxpayer money goes to the Taliban. Period."
Giménez, R-Fla., is set to introduce his legislation which would prohibit any U.S. taxpayer dollars from being sent to any activity that would benefit the Taliban in Afghanistan politically, militarily or economically.
The intent of the legislation is to extend that prohibition to international organizations as well, according to a Giménez aide, to ensure that no U.S. money can flow from third parties, like the United Nations or the World Bank, to the Taliban.
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"This is a very simple bill," Giménez said in an exclusive interview with Fox News. "No American money, no taxpayer money, will ever go to the Taliban – period. No financial aid, not foreign aid, no aid in any way, shape or form."
"That’s it," he said.
Giménez told FOX Business that there are other pieces of proposed legislation currently circulating on Capitol Hill in which financial aid is a component, but he warned those "could be easy for Democrats to vote against," as they include other provisions.
"This is easy – one thing. No taxpayer money goes to the Taliban, period," Giménez repeated. "Either you’re for it or you’re against it."
"It’s very simple," he added. "I hope Democrats vote for it, and if they don’t, they’re going to have to explain why they didn’t vote for such a simple bill."
The Afghan economy may be on the brink of collapse, just two weeks after the Taliban seized control and toppled the U.S.-backed government in Kabul.
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The country’s economy was already struggling before the Taliban regained power, and the Islamic group’s sudden ascension has prompted the international community to crack down on Afghanistan’s finances, freezing assets and pausing crucial foreign aid.
Days after Kabul collapsed, the Biden administration froze Afghan government reserves held in U.S. banks, blocking the Taliban from accessing billions of dollars, FOX Business confirmed.
"Any Central Bank assets the Afghan government have in the United States will not be made available to the Taliban," an administration official told FOX Business.
White House national security advisor Jake Sullivan on Tuesday was asked whether the U.S. would provide economic assistance to the Taliban.
Sullivan, during an interview with ABC’s "Good Morning America," said the Biden administration believes there is an "important dimension of humanitarian assistance that should go directly to the people of Afghanistan," with respect to "health, food aid and other formers of subsistence."
"And we do intend to continue that," Sullivan said.
As for the Biden administration’s relationship with the Taliban with regard to economic and developmental assistance, Sullivan said that was dependent on "the Taliban’s actions."
"It will be about whether they follow through on their commitments – their commitments to safe passage for Americans and Afghan allies, their commitment to not allow Afghanistan to be a base from which terrorists can attack the United States or any other country, their commitments with respect to upholding their international obligations," Sullivan said.
"It’s going to be up to them," he continued. "And we will wait and see by their actions how we end up responding in terms of the economic development."
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Sullivan was pressed on whether the humanitarian assistance would flow through the Taliban – which he denied, saying, instead, that humanitarian assistance goes through international institutions like the World Health Organization or the World Food Program.
"We do go through non-governmental organizations who are still operating on the ground in Afghanistan as we speak," he added. "It will not flow through."
But Giménez, during his interview with Fox News, took issue with Sullivan’s response, as well as President Biden’s comments during his address to the nation Tuesday, referring to the Taliban’s commitment to safe passage for Americans remaining in Afghanistan.
"I think they are trying to set up the American people to say that somehow, there will be some great tug of war between ISIS-K and the Taliban," Giménez said, saying the administration is "painting ISIS-K as the really, really bad people, and the Taliban as the ones that are going to protect us from ISIS-K."
"That’s what they’re trying to sell to America," Giménez said.
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"They all have one common enemy – the United States and the West. We are the common enemy," he explained.
He added: "This president is wrong now, has been wrong in the past, and unfortunately, he will be wrong in the future and put America, and the west, at risk."
Meanwhile, President Biden defended his decision to withdraw all U.S. troops from Afghanistan, shouldering full "responsibility" for the move, while also blaming his predecessor, former President Trump, and the Afghan security forces for the crisis leading to the Taliban takeover of the country.
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The last U.S. troops left Afghanistan Monday afternoon, marking an end to America’s longest war.
Now, the Taliban is pushing to restore the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan, the formal name of the country under the Taliban rule before the militants were ousted by U.S-led forces in the wake of the 9/11 attacks. Those attacks were orchestrated by al Qaeda while it was being sheltered in Afghanistan by the Taliban.
FOX Business' Megan Henney contributed to this report.
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