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Top legislator urges US envoy to testify for Taliban talks



The Trump government official in charge of negotiating with the Taliban may soon be summoned to Congress before his work as a leading legislator demands a hearing in September.

"I do not consider your testimony to be optional at this hearing," New York Democrat Eliot Engel, chairman of the Foreign Office, wrote Thursday in a letter to Zalmay Khalilzad, the State Department special representative for reconciliation in Afghanistan. "If this letter is not enough to secure your participation, I will consider other options that will ensure that this hearing takes place on time."

Engels letter followed Khalilzad's announcement that he had "reached a fundamental agreement with the Taliban." Remove 5,400 US troops from the country to ensure that the Taliban do not carry out al-Qaida security measures planning the terrorist attacks of 1

1 September 2001 from Afghanistan. The draft agreement is criticized by Afghan officials who have been excluded from the trial and fear a deal that will strengthen the Taliban. Similarly frustrated, Engel stated that Khalilzad had "not answered" two invitations to the committee this year, including a letter from Michael McCaul of Texas, the panel's top Republican.

"The American and Afghan people deserve to know what the government's diplomatic strategy is for Afghanistan," wrote Engel. "Your testimony will help inform members and ensure the necessary transparency in relation to the government's Afghanistan strategy." , Negotiations between the Taliban and the central government are reported to start. The terrorist group has rejected direct talks during the 18-year conflict, insisting that the US-backed government is unlawful.

"With the progress of US-Taliban talks, their public position on negotiations with the Afghan government has further deteriorated," said Jeff Smith, a South Asia analyst at the Heritage Foundation, to Washington Examiner . "In the end, it's far too early to predict what that means and what it will produce, but it has moved the needle."

Smith added that "there is still much doubt as to whether the Taliban are negotiating in good faith, even when they are in talks." Such skepticism is felt in Kabul, where Ghanis' mates in the elections considered the potential deal

"This is aimed at dividing Afghanistan, and we do not accept it," said Amrullah Saleh, vice presidential candidate and former intelligence chief.

Saleh's criticism recalls the suspicion that Ghani's team was in this When one of the president's top adjutants suggested that Khalilzad "create a transitional government whose viceroy he will then become" the consultant who made these statements, but concerns over whether Khalilzad overstates the virtues of the draft treaty, have emerged in Washington

"[T] hose familiar with the deal say that the Taliban actually made no explicit promise h to break ties with al Qaeda, "wrote Michael Rubin of the American Enterprise Institute on Thursday. "This leaves the Taliban room for maneuver and allows Al-Qaeda to maintain its field operations, and would not require credit at most within Afghanistan."

The negotiations have come in the midst of a flood of terrorist attacks, including three this week. In a car bomb attack on Thursday in Kabul, ten people are said to have been killed, including an American soldier.

"The attack is unlikely to affect the talks," said Smith, an analyst at the Heritage Foundation. "The Taliban attacked us and the Afghans the entire time we were negotiating, and they explicitly announced that they would do so until an agreement was reached."

This week, Khalilzad emphasized that the agreement was "first then final is when the US President agrees. "President Trump then complained about the American forces acting" as police officers "in the country.

" That's not their job, "Trump told The White House We want to bring at least a large part of them home. We also have NATO troops there. We want to bring a lot of it along. "So we're talking to the Taliban, we're talking to the government, we'll see what happens."

Angel, presiding over the House of Representatives Committee for American diplomats, told Khalilzad that he must give an "overdue" public statement of the "potential risks and opportunities" of the Taliban talks.

"After nearly two decades of war, we all want the fighting in Afghanistan to end." Engel wrote, "But we want to make sure that we negotiate peace and not just a retreat. "


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