Source: United States House of Representatives – Congressman Malinowski (NJ-7)
Today, Representative Tom Malinowski (D-NJ) and Representative Mike Gallagher (R-WI) led a bipartisan letter to Secretary of State Pompeo requesting his assurance that the Trump Administration will make available to Congress the full text of any agreement it signs with the Taliban.
The representatives also sought assurances that any deal would verifiably require the Taliban to break ties with all its terrorist allies, including in Pakistan, and that withdrawal of U.S. troops will be conditioned on an agreement between the Afghan government and the Taliban.
The Representative wrote: “We believe that it is essential for the elected representatives of the American people to be able to review the exact language of any deal that is reached with the Taliban, given its profound implications for U.S. national security. We also ask for your written commitment that there will be no secret understandings or annexes with the Taliban that you will not share with Congress.”
“It’s time for the administration to talk to the Congress, not just to the Taliban, about the future of Afghanistan. We need to make sure that any withdrawal of U.S. forces does not come at the cost of everything they fought for,” said Congressman Tom Malinowski.
“While it may be necessary to conduct these talks with the Taliban in secrecy, no agreement reached effecting the foreign policy of the U.S. should be kept from Congress. Congress, and ultimately the American people, need to know exactly what we have agreed to, especially given that we are dealing with the Taliban,” said Congressman Brad Sherman.
Please find below and here the full text of the letter.
The Honorable Mike Pompeo
Secretary of State
U.S. Department of State
2201 C St NW
Washington, DC 20520
Dear Mr. Secretary:
We are writing to seek your assurance that the Trump Administration will make available to Congress the full text of any agreement it signs with the Taliban. We believe that it is essential for the elected representatives of the American people to be able to review the exact language of any deal that is reached with the Taliban, given its profound implications for U.S. national security. We also ask for your written commitment that there will be no secret understandings or annexes with the Taliban that you will not share with Congress.
We strongly support an end to the conflict in Afghanistan and do not wish to see any American forces deployed there or in neighboring countries one day longer than necessary. However, as you know, U.S. troops went to Afghanistan in the first place because of the terrorist sanctuary that was established there under the Taliban, which continued to shelter and work with al Qaeda in the aftermath of the September 11 attacks. In addition, we are cognizant that the Taliban has the blood of thousands of American service members on its hands, together with an extensive and ongoing track record of cooperation with fellow Islamist extremist organizations, and of brutal violence against the Afghan people.
Consequently, we look forward to reviewing in depth any negotiated settlement that is reached with the Taliban to ensure that it does not jeopardize either America’s vital national interests or our most fundamental values. In particular, we are eager to understand the following key issues:
- Will the Taliban commitment to break with international terrorists extend not only to territory under its control in Afghanistan but also Taliban activities in Pakistan? Needless to say, it would be deeply troubling if the agreement fails to address the latter.
- Will the Taliban pledge to repudiate and cease any cooperation with international terrorists encompass not only al Qaeda but the other twenty-plus U.S. designated Foreign Terrorist Organizations that operate in the Afghanistan-Pakistan region, many of which have been responsible for the murder of Americans, including the Haqqani Network and Lashkar-e-Taiba?
- How will the Trump Administration verify that the Taliban is upholding its commitments under the agreement with respect to al Qaeda or other terrorist groups, and how will it respond in the event of credible intelligence of a violation? We also ask for your written assurance that any reporting by the U.S. Intelligence Community of any violation by the Taliban will be promptly shared with Congress.
- Will the contemplated full withdrawal of U.S. forces from Afghan territory be conditioned on the actual completion of a settlement between the Taliban and the legitimate government of Afghanistan? If not, why would the Taliban have any incentive to agree to terms acceptable to the Afghan government and people, rather than simply waiting for international forces to leave before resuming total war?
- In recent talks, Taliban officials have reportedly suggested that their movement has changed since it ruled Afghanistan in the 1990s. We therefore would welcome any evidence you can share, based on the Taliban’s conduct in the areas it controls, that is willing to respect the governing principles and basic rights, including women’s rights, outlined in the Afghan Constitution, and that its ideology is compatible with sharing power with an elected government.
- Will U.S. troops leaving Afghanistan be brought home to the United States, or merely redeployed to countries neighboring Afghanistan to enable continued counterterrorism operations? If the former, how will the U.S. protect the homeland from the dozen-plus terrorist groups that continue to operate in the Afghanistan-Pakistan region and that many analysts believe are poised to surge in the aftermath of a U.S. exit? If the latter, how will redeployment to regional bases meaningfully reduce reduce burdens faced by our troops or costs to the U.S. taxpayer, particularly since such a redeployment will likely require the construction of entirely new bases and other support infrastructure?
We thank you for your attention to this matter and look forward to your response.