House chairman subpoenas Trump's Afghanistan negotiator

House chairman subpoenas Trump's Afghanistan negotiator
© Aaron Schwartz

House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Eliot EngelEliot Lance EngelHouse postpones testimony from key Pompeo aide about IG firing Yvette Clarke wins NY House primary Nadler wins Democratic primary MORE (D-N.Y.) Thursday subpoenaed the Trump’s administration lead negotiator in Afghanistan peace talks to testify before the committee on Sept. 19.

Engel said he issued the subpoena for special envoy Zalmay Khalilzad after the State Department ignored requests in February, April and earlier this month for briefings.

“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,” Engel said in a statement Thursday. “I expect to see Ambassador Khalilzad in our hearing room next Thursday at 10 o’clock sharp.”


The State Department did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the subpoena.

Engel hinted last week he would issue a subpoena after Khalilzad told reporters in Afghanistan he had reached an agreement “in principal” with the Taliban.

Since then, President TrumpDonald John TrumpHouse panel approves 0.5B defense policy bill House panel votes against curtailing Insurrection Act powers after heated debate House panel votes to constrain Afghan drawdown, ask for assessment on 'incentives' to attack US troops MORE revealed he had canceled a plan to meet with Taliban leaders at Camp David to finalize the peace agreement.

The revelation sparked blowback from members of both parties who questioned why Trump thought it would be a good idea to invite the insurgents to the storied presidential retreat, particularly so close to the anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks that led to the war in Afghanistan.

Khalilzad had been negotiating with the Taliban for nearly a year on an agreement that would see U.S. troops withdraw in exchange for Taliban assurances it would not let terrorists launch attacks against the United States from Afghanistan.

Trump said he canceled the Camp David summit because of a Taliban-claimed car bomb in Kabul that killed a U.S. soldier, as well as 11 others.


Trump has since described the peace talks as “dead.”

“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,” Engel said in his statement Thursday. “We need to hear directly from the administration’s point person on Afghanistan to understand how this process went off the rails.”

The United States has about 14,000 troops in Afghanistan on a dual mission of helping Afghan forces with their fight against the Taliban and conducting counterterrorism missions against groups such as al Qaeda and ISIS.