Washington—Representative Eliot L. Engel, Chairman of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs, today made the following statement:

"I offer my continued support for the ongoing intra-Afghan dialogue and urge both sides to return to the negotiating table. I remain hopeful that these negotiations will lead to a cessation of hostilities between the Taliban and the government of Afghanistan, and eventually to a permanent cease fire.

"In order for this dialogue to be meaningful, the Taliban must fulfill its counter terrorism commitments and continue to reduce violence, in line with the conditions agreed upon between the United States, the Taliban, and the Afghan government. I re-emphasize the need for the continued drawdown of American and coalition troops to be based upon the fulfillment of these commitments and conditions on the ground. Any move to accelerate a troop drawdown, outside of the agreement’s framework, is of great concern.

"The United States Congress remains committed to a long-term relationship with the Afghan people, and to support a peaceful, prosperous, and stable Afghanistan."

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