A populist, left-wing journalist asked senators why the U.S. was still sanctioning Afghanistan, and few of the lawmakers, especially Democrats, had an answer for him.
The Biden administration decided to cut bait on Afghanistan, but the party in charge still appears to have little in the way of a plan when it comes to dealing with the war-torn country.
In a video released Tuesday by The Intercept, reporter Lee Fang is seen asking lawmakers on Capitol Hill why the U.S. is still sanctioning the Taliban government.
The U.S. left Afghanistan, then crippled its economy w/ sanctions that left several million on the brink of starvation. Food and fuel prices are skyrocketing. Banks can't process humanitarian aid. We tried to speak to lawmakers but few seemed to care: pic.twitter.com/iH3BpIbpXv
— Lee Fang (@lhfang) December 13, 2021
“After the U.S. pulled out of Afghanistan,” Fang says in the footage. “We imposed crushing sanctions. So the Afghan government can’t access $9 billion of their own money.”
- “The U.S. has also frozen over $1billion in humanitarian assistance from the World Bank,” Fang added.
- In the wake of President Joe Biden’s withdrawal of U.S. troops in August, Afghanistan faces a coming famine and the threat of outright economic collapse, The New York Times reported Wednesday.
- Some have wondered why the U.S. policy remains unchanged, considering the U.S. has expressed openness to partnering with the Taliban government to take down ISIS-K, the country’s dangerous Islamic State chapter.
THE DEMOCRATS’ RESPONSE
Few Democrats had answers for Fang.
- “I have to go, I am going to be late for my vote,” said Sen. John Hickenlooper, D-Colo.
- “No, I have a television interview,” said. Sen. Robert Menendez., D- N.J., who is. chair of the Senate Foreign Relations committee.
- “I think it is the responsibility of the Taliban government,” said. Sen. Tammy Duckworth, D-Ill. “To comply with what needs to be done. … They have a lot of work to do.”
ON THE OTHER SIDE
Republicans were comparatively more forthcoming.
- “Talk to the administration,” Sen. Richard Burr, R-N.C., said.
- “Sanctions, if they’re having misintended purposes, of course that’s not good,” Sen. Mike Braun, R-Ind., said. “But thanks for bringing it up and I’ll look into it, OK?”
- “Who’s Congress controlled by? …Yeah, the president’s party,” said Sen. Josh Hawley, R-Missouri. “I mean, you should ask them these questions. … We just had this discussion. We can’t force anything on the floor. The Democrats are in total control. They have no interest in Afghanistan. I’d love to have more hearings on Afghanistan.”