According to Newsweek, President Donald Trump asked lawmakers to reimburse the Afghanistan Taliban for expenses related to participating in peace conferences.
The Defense Department earlier this year requested that Congress pay Taliban members for the costs of attending several negotiations, House Appropriations Subcommittee on Defense Chair Pete Visclosky said.
The payment would be used to reimburse transportation, food, lodging, and other miscellaneous costs, said the spokesman for Visclosky, Kevin Spicer.
But following through with the request to pay the organization with U.S. dollars “would implicate provisions of law concerning material support to terrorists, the Taliban’s ongoing offensive operations against U.S. service members, and their continuing lack of acknowledgement of the government of Afghanistan or the rights of women in Afghan society.”
Instead of conceding to the Trump administration’s request, the subcommittee passed a bill allocating $690.2 billion to defense spending for FY 2020 that states that the government cannot reimburse Taliban members for participating in any conference "that does not include the participation of members of the government of Afghanistan or that restricts the participation of women."
Taxpayers for Common Sense executive vice president Steve Ellis called the funding request reminiscent of something that satire newspaper The Onion would write.
“Even if you leave aside that they are still conducting operations against our interests and allies, having to pay for someone to be at the table undercuts our bargaining position and demonstrates their lack of enthusiasm for a deal,” Ellis said. “I’m sure the Taliban would like whatever cash we’re willing to give them, but it’s not like they aren’t able to continue funding their fighting. How about using some of that cash instead of American taxpayer dollars.”