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US House Committee Subpoenas Trump's Afghanistan Envoy

© AP Photo / Jacquelyn MartinSpecial Representative for Afghanistan Reconciliation Zalmay Khalilzad
Special Representative for Afghanistan Reconciliation Zalmay Khalilzad - Sputnik International
The US House of Representatives Foreign Affairs Committee said Thursday it will subpoena US President Donald Trump's special Afghanistan envoy, Zalmay Khalilzad, to testify at an open hearing on 19 September.

The committee's Democratic chairman Eliot Engel said he signed the subpoena after the US State Department ignored numerous requests for briefings by Khalilzad about the Afghanistan peace plan and the Trump administration's path forward in that country, Reuters reported.

"Representative Eliot L. Engel, Chairman of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs, today subpoenaed Special Representative for Afghanistan Reconciliation Zalmay Khalilzad to testify at an open hearing of the Committee next Thursday, September 19th", the release said.

Afghanistan has long been suffering from an unstable security situation. The government, supported by an international coalition, has been fighting the Taliban, which has been waging a war against Kabul for almost two decades.

In recent weeks, the Taliban reportedly carried out several deadly terrorist attacks, thus undermining the peace process. US President Donald Trump blamed the Taliban for sabotaging the negotiations after a US soldier was killed in one of the attacks. Trump said via Twitter that he canceled plans to hold secret Camp David talks with the Taliban leadership and Afghan leaders. He was reportedly also planning to hold a separate meeting with Afghan President Ashraf Ghani.

Over the past several months, the Taliban movement and the United States were negotiating a peace deal, which was expected to ensure the withdrawal of foreign troops in exchange for movement's guarantee that it would cut ties to terrorist organizations and ensure that the country would not become a safe haven for terrorists. The talks, however, excluded the Afghan government, as the Taliban considers it a US puppet.

The Afghan government, however, is ready for further peace talks with the Taliban, but the latter should stop carrying out attacks on the Afghan population, Hamdullah Mohib, the Afghan national security adviser, said Thursday. The national security adviser added that the Taliban should get rid of foreign influence and come to the negotiating table.

Earlier on Thursday, US State Department spokesperson Morgan Ortagus during a press briefing could not provide a clear answer on whether a communication channel with the Taliban remained open.

*The Taliban is a terrorist organization banned in Russia and many other countries.

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