US top Afghanistan negotiator to hold “classified briefing,”

WASHINGTON, US Chairman of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs Eliot Engel announced Wednesday that he has withdrawn his subpoena of US Special Representative for Afghanistan Reconciliation Zalmay Khalilzad that was scheduled for Thursday which will now be a “classified briefing” instead.

Engel said in a statement “after several days of negotiations with the State Department, we have reached an accommodation that will allow all members of the Foreign Affairs Committee to hear from Ambassador Khalilzad in a classified briefing tomorrow morning.” “Accordingly, I have withdrawn the subpoena issued to Ambassador Khalilzad last week,” he added.

He indicated that the hearing “will then proceed as scheduled with testimony from another administration witness.” “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,” he noted.

He stressed that “it shouldn’t have taken a subpoena to get the State Department to work with this committee and allows us to perform our oversight duties.” Last week, Engel subpoenaed Khalilzad to testify at an open hearing of the Committee, saying, “we need to hear directly from the Administration’s point person on Afghanistan.” This comes after President Donald Trump announced that the peace talks between the US and Taliban are “dead” after cancelling a secret meeting with Taliban leaders and Afghan President Ashraf Ghani at Camp David and “called off peace negotiations.”

Source: Kuwait News Agency