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US Lawmakers Want Answers From Khalilzad About Deal With Taliban

(Last Updated On: September 6, 2019)

The Foreign Affairs Committee of the U.S. House of Representatives has called on the Special Representative for Afghanistan Reconciliation, Zalmay Khalilzad to brief the lawmakers on details of the peace deal he negotiated with the Taliban in Doha, the capital of Qatar.

The Committee’s Chairman Eliot Engel in a letter to Khalilzad on Thursday called on him to testify in September on the proposed peace plan with the Taliban on U.S. troop pullout from Afghanistan.

“I am calling this hearing so that Congress and the American people will have the long-overdue opportunity to understand the contours of your negotiations with the Taliban and the potential risks and opportunities that may result,” Engel said the letter.

Engel added that the U.S. Envoy’s agreement with the Taliban has “been disseminated among officials in the Trump Administration and shared with President Ghani’s government.”

The letter further said the Americans and Afghan people deserve to know what the U.S. diplomatic “strategy is for Afghanistan,” adding that the U.S. wants to make sure that it is “negotiating a peace and not simply a withdrawal.”

“Given the challenges this Committee has faced in getting information from the Trump Administration on this issue, I want to be clear: I do not consider your testimony at this hearing optional,” Engel wrote. “If this letter is insufficient to secure your attendance, I will consider other options that would ensure this hearing takes place in a timely manner.”

It is been the third time that the committee is requesting Khalilzad to appear at the U.S. House of Representatives for the questioning.

Engel and ranking member Representative Michael McCaul issued an invitation in February and Democrat members of the committee had also asked Khalilzad to appear in April.

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