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US Special Envoy for Afghanistan to Grudgingly Brief Congressional Panel

Zalmay Khalilzad, Washington’s special representative charged with overseeing Afghanistan peace talks, will brief the US House Foreign Affairs Committee Thursday behind closed doors. The committee issued a subpoena on September 12 after Khalilzad ignored an invitation to discuss the Trump Administration’s failure to achieve an agreement with the Taliban after 10 months of talks that had been described as being on the cusp of a breakthrough. Earlier this month, President Donald Trump enthusiastically suggested a final summit at Camp David, but plans fell apart, apparently due both to cold feet by Taliban leaders and continued suicide attacks in Afghanistan by the Islamic extremists. Key members of the Democratic-controlled House of Representatives were said to be angered by the administration’s handling of the talks. “While I would have preferred to hear from Ambassador Khalilzad in an open setting, I’m glad our members will have this long overdue opportunity to press for answers on the peace plan,” Rep. Eliot Engel, who chairs the committee, said Wednesday in a statement. “It shouldn’t have taken a subpoena to get the State Department to work with this committee and allow us to perform our oversight duties.”