McCaul Statement on Potential Pathway to Peace in Afghanistan
Washington D.C. – Congressman Michael McCaul (R-TX), Lead Republican of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, released the following statement on the agreement to try and bring peace to Afghanistan following the week long reduction in violence.
“I applaud President Trump, and Secretaries Pompeo and Esper for reaching an agreement with the Taliban and a corresponding joint declaration with the Afghan government. I was briefed by Secretary Pompeo and am hopeful these are the first steps on the path ahead for a safer and more prosperous future for the people of Afghanistan.
“This Agreement stipulates there will be a phased withdrawal of our armed forces based on conditions on the ground and our military commander’s assessment. I share the administration’s clear-eyed recognition that our counterterrorism capabilities must continue to be robust until the Taliban verifiably adhere to all elements of the agreement.
“As Secretary Pompeo said, the pace of our withdrawal will be contingent on the Taliban’s actions. It is critical that a residual force remain in place until a lasting peace is achieved. This will be vital in ensuring that Afghanistan does not serve as a staging ground for terrorist attacks against the homeland.
“Moving forward, a constructive dialogue between the Taliban, Afghan government and other representatives from Afghan society, including women, will be an important test for the viability of this significant effort for a lasting peace. The United States will be working hand in hand with the international community during the next phase of this process. Ultimately, the success of this quest for peace depends on the Taliban upholding their commitments.
“While I hope the Taliban live up to their end of the agreement, including cutting ties to al-Qaeda and other terrorist groups, I have serious reservations that they can act as legitimate partners. Strong monitoring and enforcement mechanisms as well as appropriate snapback measures must be ready if they do not follow through.
“Ambassador Khalilzad and his team deserve credit for their efforts and bipartisan support as they work towards reaching the next phase of the agreement. I look forward to continued engagement with the Administration as this process moves forward.”