Anti-Taliban US bill

The dirty domestic politics of the Trump era are unnecessarily dragging Pakistan through the mud

September 30, 2021

Several Republican lawmakers are trying to cover up for the ineptitude of the previous US president, Donald Trump. The Republicans are throwing anything they can at the administration of US President Joe Biden in an effort to make the Trump presidency look like less of a disaster. Now that the Trump era is over, historians have started to weigh in, and he is universally ranked among the worst presidents ever, and the worst since World War II.

Unfortunately, the Republican Party has continued its swing to the far right and keeps pursuing the fascistic, hateful, xenophobic voters that make up Trump’s base. Much of the party also follows the Trump policy of labelling any failings or wrongdoing as fake news or somebody else’s fault. On that note, Republican senators have moved a bill seeking to label the Taliban as a terrorist organisation and sanction the group and anyone doing business with the regime.

Pakistan is directly referenced in the bill. Even though the partisan bill has no chance of passing the Democrat-controlled Senate and House in its current form, the accusations made in it are ludicrous. Democrats would be wise to call for the sanctions to be retroactive and applied to Trump. After all, he is the one who did not insist on a political settlement between the Ghani government and the Taliban as part of the Doha agreement. Many of the 22 Republicans backing the bill also supported the same agreement responsible for the fiasco. As for their anti-terror credentials, none of them has called the January 6 attack on Congress by Trump supporters an act of terrorism.

Meanwhile, Marco Rubio, an ardent Trump supporter despite being constantly emasculated by Trump, had even correctly predicted after the Doha deal was signed that it could open the door to a rapid collapse of the Afghan regime. Yet Rubio and the others are unwilling to blame the person that signed the deal that left the incumbent president’s hands tied. The dirty domestic politics of the Trump era — blaming Democrats for the fiasco wholly created by the Republican president — are unnecessarily dragging Pakistan through the mud. Biden’s envoys, who will be visiting Pakistan next month, would be wise to clarify the actual position of the US government.

Published in The Express Tribune, September 30th, 2021.

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