Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., and Rep. Mike Waltz, R-Fla., are calling on President Joe Biden to recognize opposition forces to the Taliban in Afghanistan.
Their remarks came Friday in a statement released by Waltz’s office.
“After speaking with Afghan Vice President Amrullah Saleh and representatives of Ahmad Massoud, we are calling on the Biden Administration to recognize these leaders as the legitimate government representatives of Afghanistan. We ask the Biden Administration to recognize that the Afghan Constitution is still intact, and the Afghan Taliban takeover is illegal.
“These leaders chose to stay and fight for the freedoms of the Afghan people and oppose extremism. They have established a safe haven in the Panjshir Valley for Americans left behind, our allies, and those seeking freedom from Afghan Taliban rule. They will also be on the front lines in the fight against global Islamic Extremism, which will continue to plot attacks against the West in the wake of our withdrawal from the region.
“We call on President Biden to designate the Afghan Taliban as a Foreign Terrorist Organization, and we urge him to publicly support Congressional efforts to stand with our friends in the Panjshir Valley who will serve as a bulwark against regional terror.”
The New York Times noted Massoud, 32, is the son of the late mujahedeen commander Ahmad Shah Massoud.
Spokesmen for Ahmad Massoud claim he has attracted thousands of soldiers to the valley, including some of the Afghan Army’s special forces and others who served with his father as guerrilla commanders.
“We’re waiting for some opportunity, some support,” said Hamid Saifi, a former officer in the Afghan National Army, who now serves as a commander in Massoud’s resistance. “Maybe some countries will be ready for this great work. So far, all countries we talked to are quiet. America, Europe, China, Russia, all of them are quiet.”
Waltz noted on Twitter he and Graham had spoken with Saleh and representatives of Massoud.
He wrote: “Our friends in the Panjshir Valley chose to stay & fight for an Afghanistan free of terrorists. We must stand with them and Pres. Biden must recognize them as the legitimate Afghan gov and proclaim the Taliban takeover & gov are illegal & illegitimate.”