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GOP lawmakers want briefing regarding continued National Guard presence at Capitol

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A group of House Republicans is asking the Defense Department to brief them on why thousands of National Guardsmen are expected to remain in D.C. until at least March, Fox News reports.

National Guard Bureau spokesman Wayne Hall confirmed to Fox News Tuesday that National Guard members will remain in the Capitol until at least mid-March.

“As we continue to work to meet the final post-inauguration requirements, the National Guard has been requested to continue supporting federal law enforcement agencies with 7,000 members and will draw down to 5,000 through mid-March,” Hall told Fox News.

Acting Army Secretary John Whitley said at a briefing Monday that the FBI has been warned of several planned protests and potential unrest in the coming weeks that will require a Guard presence in the Capital.

“We are posturing our forces to be able to respond to those threats if they emerge,” Whitley said.

Several GOP lawmakers are criticizing the decision, saying the National Guard should be used as an absolute last resort.

12 GOP lawmakers wrote a letter to Whitley requesting a briefing regarding the decision for significant troop presence in D.C. through mid-March.

“Our intention is for the briefing to cover ongoing threats to the Capitol, justification of the decision for a significant troop presence through mid-March, and plans for troop utilization during the time period,” the letter says.

“As you know better than anyone, our National Guard men and women are deployed on short notice and pulled away from their families and jobs,” the letter continues.

“Further, the Guard has endured unprecedented stress on the force in the past year given COVID-19, social unrest, natural disasters, and ongoing overseas requirements. The National Guard should be used as an option of absolute last resort.”

The letter concludes, “We are seeking clarification and justification on behalf of the National Guard men and women that have kept us safe over the past month and year. We are seeking this threat assessment briefing as soon as reasonably possible and greatly appreciate your time and attention.”

Sen. Tom Cotton agreed, saying time it’s to send the troops home.

“The National Guard soldiers who deployed to protect the Capitol this month certainly deserve such gratitude. They deployed on short notice, leaving behind their families and jobs. Despite cold weather and uncomfortable conditions, these soldiers did their duty, in the finest traditions of the Guard,” Cotton said.

“Their presence, coupled with tough federal charges against the Capitol rioters, deterred any further violence; the presidential inauguration occurred without incident.”

“With the inauguration complete and threats receding, now it’s time, yes, to send home the troops.”

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Middle East

U.S. giving millions to Taliban in Afghanistan

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After two decades at war with the Taliban, the U.S. government is now sending millions of taxpayer dollars to the terrorist group, reports the Center Square. The Taliban resumed power in Afghanistan immediately after the chaotic and deadly withdrawal of U.S. troops earlier in the Biden administration.

A new federal watchdog report shows that the U.S. government has sent at least $11 million to the Taliban since the 2021 withdrawal of U.S. troops. But experts and even the federal watchdog estimate the number is much higher.

“The U.S. government has continued to be the largest international donor supporting the Afghan people since the former Afghan government collapsed and the Taliban returned to power in August 2021,” the federal watchdog, SIGAR, wrote in its report. “Since then, the U.S. government has provided more than $2.8 billion in humanitarian and development assistance to help the people of Afghanistan.”

SIGAR said that the $11 million figure is likely only “a fraction” of taxpayer dollars actually going to the Taliban.

“SIGAR also found that the $10.9 million paid by 38 U.S. Department of State, U.S. Agency for International Development, and U.S. Agency for Global Media implementing partners is likely only a fraction of the total amount of U.S. assistance funds provided to the Taliban in taxes, fees, duties, and utilities because UN agencies receiving U.S. funds did not collect data or provide relevant information about their subawardees’ payments,” the report said.

Much of that taxpayer funding is transferred to the Taliban goes through nongovernmental organizations receiving foreign aid.

“To carry out their programs, U.S. agencies rely heavily on nongovernmental organizations and public international organizations, such as the UN, to implement humanitarian and development assistance,” the report said. “Both the former Ghani administration and the current Taliban-controlled government benefited from U.S. aid by imposing taxes, fees, duties and utilities on implementing partners as a condition of operating in Afghanistan.”

In fact, the right-leaning legal group Judicial Watch released an investigation recently showing that the Taliban has created fake NGO’s to siphon away tax dollars. Judicial Watch estimates the actual taxpayer dollars received by the Taliban is much higher than $11 million.

Although the Taliban has banned education for girls, the U.S. continues to send hundreds of millions of dollars to Afghanistan for education.

From Judicial Watch:

Since the terrorist group returned to power in August 2021, Uncle Sam has continued to fund Afghanistan’s education sector through six programs that cost $185.2 million even though the Taliban has issued decrees drastically limiting access to education for girls and women as well as restricting women’s ability to work and other basic freedoms.

Nevertheless, the American taxpayer dollars keep flowing. In fiscal year 2023, which ended in September, the U.S. sent Taliban-ruled Afghanistan over $566 million in humanitarian assistance. Most of it was for emergency food but a chunk was classified as going to general humanitarian and health. More than $15 million went to a cause that is labeled “redacted” in the government records.

Besides its terrorist past, the Taliban also severely oppresses women and girls and denies an array of human rights.

“SIGAR has reported on the importance of U.S. funds being spent on U.S. priorities and not in ways that benefit the Taliban, which represses women and girls, denies the human rights of the Afghan people and remains unrecognized as a legitimate government by the U.S. government and the international community,” the report said.

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