Washington, Aug 26: A group of US lawmakers has urged President Joe Biden to ensure that the Taliban, which is now the de facto ruler of Afghanistan, do not destabilise Pakistan and acquire nuclear weapons.
The lawmakers demanded that Biden should answer critical questions on what happened in Afghanistan and what are his plans to move forward.
Are you prepared to support regional allies militarily in the event that the Taliban militarise the Afghanistan border? What is your plan to help to ensure that the Taliban do not destabilise its nuclear neighbour Pakistan? the group of 68 lawmakers from the Senate and the House of Representatives asked in a letter addressed to Biden on Wednesday.
Do you have a plan to ensure that Afghanistan, under Taliban occupation, will never acquire a nuclear weapon? they asked.
The lawmakers said over the past weeks, the world watched with utter shock as the Taliban took over Afghanistan with astonishing speed, "the result of unforced errors made by withdrawing completely the small remaining footprint of our main military force from Afghanistan, and by unnecessarily delaying the evacuation of US personnel and its Afghan partners".
The situation in Afghanistan 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 who the Taliban then use force to prevent from fleeing Afghanistan, and a power vacuum that China seeks to fill by increasing its ties to the Taliban, they said.
Observing that the consequences of US withdrawal from Afghanistan are not isolated to that country, or even to the Middle East region, the lawmakers said the action carried geopolitical and strategic consequences that have already begun to unfold and will reverberate for decades.
Dealing with these consequences means that we must take action now to chart the course for American strategy, while we manage the immediate repercussions of this self-inflicted crisis in Afghanistan. To this end, we write to ask you to outline what your plan is to move America forward, they wrote.
Noting that the intelligence community has warned that Al Qaida and ISIS-K will be given carte blanche by the Taliban to use Afghanistan as a safe haven to train and equip for future terrorist attacks against the US, they asked: What is your plan to ensure that Al Qaida does not resurge and regain a foothold in Afghanistan? What 'over the horizon' operations are you prepared to use to counter this threat?
The letter questioned that with the Taliban taking over Kabul, does the armed group now have de facto command and control over the Afghan security forces' former personnel, equipment and infrastructure.
"If so, does this mean that the Taliban possess an air force through this de facto control? What is your plan to disable any air forces that operate under orders from the Taliban? it asked.
The lawmakers asked Biden about his plan to ensure that more US and Afghan military equipment do not end up in the hands of the Taliban.
What is your plan to reclaim US military equipment that has already fallen into the hands of the Taliban? they asked.