Representative Eliot Engel. Photo by US Congress.

House Foreign Affairs Committee Subpoena U.S. Special Envoy to Afghanistan

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On Thursday the House Foreign Affairs Committee announced via Twitter, that Chairman Eliot Engel (D-NY) issued a subpoena to compel the testimony of the U.S. Special Representative for Afghanistan Reconciliation, Zalmay Khalilzad.

The Committee said in a statement that Engel signed the subpoena, the first the Committee has issued this Congress, after the State Department refused several requests for Khalizad to be present for either a briefing or public testimony.

[Engel] signed this subpoena, the first the Committee has issued this Congress, after the State Department refused requests in February, April, and earlier this month for briefings or testimony from Ambassador Khalilzad on the Afghanistan peace plan.

House Foreign Affairs statement.

The subpoena follows less than a week after President Trump took to Twitter to explain how he had invited the Taliban leaders and separately the Afghanistan President to Camp David to meet on Sunday just three days before the 18th anniversary of the September 11th, terrorist attacks.

On Monday while the President awaited departure from D.C., he was asked where peace talks with the Taliban now stood and responded by saying, “there dead, there dead, as far as I’m concerned they are dead.”

Engel said in his statement that given the State Department’s past refusal to allow for Khalilzad to testify or even brief the House Foreign Affairs Committee, plus the statements from President Trump, it has left him no choice, but to issue the subpoena to compel the testimony regarding the plan the State Department has to end the Afghanistan war.

More than 2,000 American troops have died in Afghanistan, and 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.

For months, we haven’t been able to get answers on the Afghanistan peace plan, and now the President is saying the plan is dead. We need to hear directly from the Administration’s point person on Afghanistan to understand how this process went off the rails.

Chairman Engel statement.

Kaylin Minton, a spokeswoman for the top Republican on the committee, Rep. Michael McCaul (R-TX), told the New York Times, that he was informed and hoped that Khalilzad would testify before the committee.

Our committee members are eager to hear about the developments in Afghanistan, including the status of negotiations with the Taliban

McCaul spokeswoman via the New York Times.

Engel has scheduled Khalilized’s testimony to take place on September 19th.