Congressman Guest Raises Concerns Over the Potential Threat Presented by the Rise of the Taliban

August 18, 2021
Press Release

Washington, D.C.  – Yesterday, Congressman Michael Guest (MS-03) joined Ranking Member of the Committee on Homeland Security John Katko and 14 other Republican committee Members in a letter to Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro Mayorkas to express their concerns over the potential threat the rise of the Taliban presents to American national security.

“The chaotic withdrawal process imposed by the Biden-Harris Administration has led to widespread Taliban control of the country in a matter of days, resulting in a dangerous new reality for the Afghan people and rapidly mounting security challenges for the United States both at home and abroad,” the letter states.

The Members go on to write that the potential for increased terrorism activities following the release of members of terrorist organization from prisons in Afghanistan coupled with the ongoing southwestern border crisis could threaten national security.

“Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Milley acknowledged to Congress the need to move up the estimated timeline for terror groups to build up their presence in Afghanistan. This comes at a time when the ongoing crisis along the southern border caused by the Biden-Harris Administration’s policies and implemented by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) under your leadership continues to strain our frontline security resources. This is despite an unprecedented number of Known or Suspected Terrorists crossing the southern border,” write the Members.

For clarification on the situation, the Representatives outline six questions that should be answered by the Administration in order to ensure the safety of the American homeland and its allies:

  1. What efforts, if any, is Customs and Border Protection taking to ensure the National Targeting Center is prepared to track and mitigate potential increased foreign fighter and terrorist travel to the United States from Afghanistan?
  2. In light of General Milley’s assessment that Al-Qaeda and other terrorist groups may quickly rebuild in Afghanistan, how is DHS working within the Intelligence Community to assess and respond to evolving terrorist threats from that region?
  3. What parallels does the Department see related to potential homeland security threats posed by the U.S. withdrawal and Taliban control of Afghanistan compared to Iraq and Syria under ISIS control?
  4. What efforts are being taken to prepare for the potential for increased instances of Homegrown Violent Extremism (HVE) inspired by the Taliban’s so-called Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan, as well as terrorist groups seeking to rebuild operations and capabilities in Afghanistan?
  5. What threat assessments does the Department intend to revisit with the benefit of hindsight, now that the Taliban has so quickly taken over Afghanistan and without a secure U.S. diplomatic presence in the country?
  6. As Afghanistan fell to the Taliban in recent days, DHS issued a revised National Terrorism Advisory System (NTAS) bulletin highlighting risks in the lead up to the 20th anniversary of 9/11 posed by domestic terrorists and individuals with grievances over public health measures and government restrictions, while failing to mention potential threats posed by the situation in Afghanistan. Does the Department believe these concerns present a more pressing threat to homeland security than that of foreign terrorists using Afghanistan as a safe haven to plot attacks?

The full text of the letter can be found here.

Congressman Michael Guest represents Mississippi's Third Congressional District. Currently serving his second term, Congressman Guest serves as the Vice Ranking Member of the Committee on Homeland Security, as a Member of the Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure, and as a Member of the Committee on Ethics.

 

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