- The Washington Times - Thursday, September 12, 2019

The Democratic chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee has subpoenaed Zalmay Khalilzad, President Trump’s special envoy to talks with Afghanistan’s Taliban insurgents, to testify next week after peace negotiations abruptly stalled over the weekend.

Mr. Khalilzad after a year of talks reached an agreement “in principle” to begin pulling U.S. troops out of the country’s longest war, in exchange for a Taliban pledge not to allow terror groups such as Islamic State and al Qaeda to set up again in the country and to begin talks with the U.S.-backed elected government in Kabul.

But President Trump over the weekend said he had canceled a secret Camp David meeting with the Taliban and Afghanistan’s president, claiming the talks were “dead” after a Taliban terror bombing in Kabul last week killed an American soldier and a dozen other people.

“I’m fed up with this administration keeping Congress and the American people in the dark on the peace process and how we’re going to bring this long war to a close,” committee Chairman Eliot Engel, New York Democrat, said in a statement Thursday.

Mr. Engel said he issued the subpoena after “numerous requests” made to the State Department to be briefed on Mr. Khalilzad’s negotiations were ignored.

The U.S. envoy was recalled Sunday following Mr. Trump’s decision to scrap the Camp David meeting that was designed to be the culmination of a year of negotiations with the Taliban aimed at finally forging peace in Afghanistan and bringing to an end America’s 18-year military mission in the country.

“We need to hear directly from the administration’s point person on Afghanistan to understand how this process went off the rails,” Mr. Engel wrote. “I expect to see Ambassador Khalilzad in our hearing room next Thursday at 10 o’clock sharp.”

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