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White House downplaying Taliban’s al-Qaeda ties; says McCaul

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KABUL – Michael McCaul, the Chairman of the US House Foreign Affairs Committee, has strongly criticized the Biden administration for what he perceives as attempts to downplay the Taliban’s terrorist activities and normalize relations with them.

In a statement released on Monday, McCaul expressed his concerns, alleging that the administration is trying to conceal the fact that the Taliban still maintains ties with al-Qaeda. In a recent House Foreign Affairs Committee hearing, senior Biden administration officials sought to minimize the Taliban’s terrorist connections in an effort to exclude them from an updated authorized use of military force (AUMF). Biden administration has also been trying to depict the Taliban as the good guys by claiming that they are fulfilling their counterterrorism obligations under the Doha agreement by actively working to combat ISIS-K.

However, McCaul emphasized that the Taliban and al-Qaeda are collaborating against Daesh as part of an internal power struggle that has persisted since 2014. “If the Taliban were genuinely upholding their counterterrorism obligations, they would be working to eliminate al-Qaeda instead of providing them with support and protection”.

Expressing serious concerns, McCaul accused the Biden administration of attempting to shield these facts from the American public, alluding to a potential future AUMF and normalization of relations with the Taliban. He stated firmly, “I will not stand by and allow them to do this”.

Meanwhile, during the same hearing, U.S. Acting Undersecretary Victoria Nuland made a controversial claim that Afghan allies who had supported the US government were not being targeted by the Taliban. McCaul vehemently disputed this assertion, citing a UN report that documented numerous confirmed instances of violence against these allies.

But McCaul rejected Nuland’s claim that the Taliban are not targeting Afghans who assisted the United States, despite the Biden administration’s abandonment in 2021, as ‘grossly inaccurate’. “There have been thousands of confirmed acts of violence against Afghan allies, including many who have been tragically killed. Once again, the Biden administration is deceiving the American people about the consequences of their actions in Afghanistan. It’s a shameful situation,” he said.

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