Gosar Introduces Legislation to Prevent Taliban from Profiting Off Minerals

Representative Paul A. Gosar, D.D.S. (AZ-04) issued the following statement after introducing H.R. 5088 Stopping Terrorist Minerals Trade Act, legislation that would prohibit minerals or products made with minerals from Afghanistan to be imported to the United States. Original cosponsors include Natural Resources Ranking Member Bruce Westerman (AR-3) and Energy and Mineral Resources Ranking Member Peter Stauber (MN-8).

“For two decades, nearly $90 million of American taxpayers’ money was spent on Afghanistan mineral exploration and mapping through the United States Geologic Survey (USGS).

Now those resources are falling into the hands of the Taliban regime, and we cannot allow the development of those resources to enrich terrorists.  This bill will ban minerals and products made with minerals from Afghanistan, and other nations that support the Taliban, from being imported to America as long as the terrorists continue to hold and control Afghanistan,” concluded Congressman Gosar.

“While our first priority needs to be getting every American and our allies out of Afghanistan safely and quickly, we also cannot overlook the significant geopolitical implications of President Biden’s botched withdrawal. USGS estimates show Afghanistan is home to vast stores of copper, iron ore, and critical minerals such as lithium that have critical renewable energy development and national defense applications. The Biden administration claims they have accounted for every contingency, but as of yet we have heard no plans for safeguarding the country’s abundant natural resources against exploitation by our adversaries. Letting these critical minerals fall easily into the hands of the Taliban or the Chinese Communist Party is irresponsible and dangerous to our long-term security. Mr. Gosar’s bill will prevent the U.S. from playing into their hand, and keep our supply chain operating securely in the future,” said House Committee on Natural Resources Ranking Member Bruce Westerman.

BACKGROUND

Research conducted in Afghanistan by the USGS has produced detailed maps and studies showing that Afghanistan sits on more than a trillion dollars in critical minerals, from copper, gold, and silver to lithium and critical rare earth elements.  The USGS work was to support the diversification of the Afghan economy and the people of a peaceful Afghanistan, not enrich the Taliban.  The “Stopping Terrorist Minerals Trade Act” would prohibit the trade in minerals from Afghanistan and would require clear documentation by any importer from countries that do business with Afghanistan.

The text of the legislation can be found here.

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