Waltz Questions Former Afghanistan Ambassador about Withdrawal

Waltz Questions Former Afghanistan Ambassador about Withdrawal

Grayson Bakich
Grayson Bakich
February 18, 2024

The withdrawal of the U.S. Military from Afghanistan in 2021 remains a black mark of the Biden Administration, one that Representative Mike Waltz (R-FL) has continually sought to receive accountability from its perpetrators. The Florida Congressman questioned former Afghan Ambassador Zalmay Khalilzad on the administration's failure to uphold the Doha Agreement.

The Doha Agreement was signed in 2020 under former President Donald Trump with the Taliban, which included provisions drawing down American troop presence in Afghanistan, talks between the US-backed government and the Taliban, and guaranteeing the country would not be used as a terrorist haven.

During the hearing, Rep. Waltz heavily criticized Democrats and the media who said President Biden was "stuck with the Doha Agreement, that his hands were tied, the Trump Administration tied his hands, [and] he had no choice," before pointing out Biden ended multiple Trump policies on his first day in office, including border policies, the Keystone XL pipeline, and the "maximum pressure" strategy against Iran.

From here, Rep. Waltz asked Khalilzad what President Trump did in response when told the Taliban were not abiding by the Doha Agreement.

Khalilzad attempted to say, "It would be speculation," but Rep. Waltz reminded him that Bagram Air Base and multiple American resources were in Afghanistan.

"So, let’s fast forward to just a few months later. Did President Biden reject your advice for conditionality moving forward on the Doha Agreement?" Waltz asked next.

The former ambassador answered, "We decided not to make a withdrawal of the final two thousand five hundred conditional on a political agreement or moving a force, a counter-terrorism force, behind."

Waltz said this meant it was "unconditional," and pointed out the consequences of the total withdrawal, such as al-Qaeda and its leader Ayman al-Zawahiri in Afghanistan, in addition to other foreign fighters, including members of the Islamic State (ISIS).

More ominously, he said intel suggested in 2023 that both groups would be capable of mounting an attack against the United States and the West within six months.

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Grayson Bakich

Grayson Bakich

Florida born and raised, Grayson Bakich is a recent recipient of a Master’s Degree in Political Science at the University of Central Florida. His thesis examined recent trends in political polarization and how this leads into justification of violence.

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