WASHINGTON — The Coalition for a Prosperous America (CPA) today urged President Joe Biden to take preemptive action to prevent China and Russia from exploiting Taliban-controlled Afghanistan to undermine vital U.S. economic and national security interests. A 2020 analysis stated that Afghanistan may hold 1.4 million tons of rare earth elements valued between $1 and $3 trillion. CPA called on the Biden administration to take preemptive action to deter, or at minimum, penalize China and Russia should they seek to partner with the Taliban to secure the vast mineral and other resource wealth of Afghanistan.
Currently, the U.S. imports more than 80 percent of its rare earths from China, which dominates the global supply chain of rare earth mining and processing. These metals are critical to U.S. economic and national security, and they are used for making everything from iPhones to the F-35 Lightning II. CPA recommended that the Biden administration impose U.S. capital market sanctions on any Chinese or Russian company, including its parent and subsidiaries, that seek to do business with the Taliban.
“Accordingly, we urge your Administration to immediately make clear that any Chinese or Russian company—including its parent and key subsidiaries—that sign contracts, or otherwise agree to do business, with the Taliban in these and other strategic resource sectors will be instantly subject to U.S. capital markets sanctions (under E.O. 14032, placed on the OFAC List) and be banned from accessing U.S. investor dollars worldwide within one year’s time, including index funds (for those publicly traded),” the letter states.
“Moreover, any such company should also be placed on the Commerce Department’s Entity List, denying them access to U.S. equipment, technology, components, and services,” the letter continues. “These costs may well serve as a deterrent and, at the very least, force these state-controlled Chinese and Russian companies to make a stark choice between doing business with the Taliban or with the U.S…. The preventative measures we recommend will help ensure that America’s leading adversaries do not realize massive economic and financial benefits from the withdrawal of our forces from Afghanistan.”
Read the full text of the letter.