Khalilzad Briefs U.S. Lawmakers on U.S.-Taliban Negotiations

(Last Updated On: September 20, 2019)

The United States Special Representative for Afghanistan Reconciliation, Zalmay Khalilzad on Thursday briefed the U.S. Congress behind the closed door about the failure of U.S.-Taliban negotiations in Qatar.

“In the last few weeks, we have seen the Afghan reconciliation process go off the rails in spectacular fashion,” Eliot Engel, the chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee.

“We have learned that the president up-ended the deal and we have learned that the peace deal evidently is dead,” Engel added.

Khalilzad held nine rounds of talks with the Taliban representatives in Doha, the capital of Qatar, in a year where the two sides had reached an agreement “in principle” but the process was called off after the Taliban carried out an attack in Kabul in which 12 people including an American soldier were killed.

The U.S. President Donald Trump on September 9 that the negotiations with the Taliban “are dead” and emphasized that he had no further interest in meeting with the leaders of the group to end the war in Afghanistan.

Meanwhile, the U.S. has cut $160 million aid for Afghanistan on Thursday while accusing the Afghan government of failing to fight corruption.

The country had allocated $100 million for an energy infrastructure project in the country, “which consists of five substations and other transmission infrastructure between Ghazni and Kandahar and Kajaki and Kandahar.”

The U.S. Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo said the U.S. will be “withholding” another $60 million in planned assistance for Afghanistan due to the government’s failure to meet benchmarks for transparency and accountability in public financial management.

“We expect the Afghan government to demonstrate a clear commitment to fight corruption, to serve the Afghan people, and to maintain their trust,” Pompeo said adding, “Afghan leaders who fail to meet this standard should be held accountable.”

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