June 24, 2022

Risch, Rubio, Colleagues Introduce Preventing Terrorist Transfers to Afghanistan Act

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Jim Risch (R-Idaho), ranking member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, today joined Senators Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) and Mark Warner (D-Va.), vice chairman and chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, Republican Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.), ranking member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), ranking member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, and Richard Shelby (R-Ala.), ranking member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, in introducing the Preventing Terrorist Transfers to Afghanistan Act (S.4491). The bill, which mirrors a bipartisan provision in the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2023, would prevent the transfer of individuals currently detained at the United States Naval Station in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba to Afghanistan.

“As a recent UN report confirms, the Taliban maintains a dangerous relationship with al Qaeda and has been unwilling to control terrorism inside of Afghanistan’s borders. Worse, the same report indicates al Qaeda enjoys increased freedom of action to plot attacks outside of Afghanistan – a threat to all Americans,” said Risch. “This legislation rightly prevents the release of Guantanamo detainees to Afghanistan where the risk of returning to terrorism is high.”

“It is reckless and irresponsible to release Asadullah Haroon Gul al Afghani to the Taliban,” said Rubio. “The terrorist organization that now controls Afghanistan cannot and will not ensure Gul, or any future detainees who are released, will not return to the battlefield and potentially kill Americans or other innocent civilians. It is clear that Congress needs to immediately pass this legislation to prevent the Biden Administration from releasing additional detainees who endanger U.S. interests and innocent lives.  Sending individuals like Gul with known extremists views to the very terrorist safe haven they recreated following the disastrous military withdrawal last summer is unconscionable.”

“This is an overdue correction to long-standing law preventing the transfer of terrorist detainees to countries that support terrorism,” said McConnell. “Following President Biden’s reckless abandonment of Afghanistan, that country is now controlled by terrorists with American blood on their hands, and so we shouldn’t be sending any terrorists back there.”

“After President Biden’s disastrous drawdown from Afghanistan, we cannot afford to allow American security concerns to grow even worse,” said Inhofe. “The detainees at Guantanamo are some of the most dangerous terrorists in the world. With the introduction of this legislation, we can prevent the transfer of detainees to Afghanistan, where they do not belong. This is needed legislation and it should become law quickly – as is evident by this administration’s terrible decision today.”

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