Wednesday, June 23, 2021

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U.S. special envoy for Afghanistan Zalmay Khalilzad will testify before the House Foreign Affairs Committee Tuesday about how relations between the two countries may evolve following the expected U.S. military withdrawal in September.

Watch the hearing live at 10 a.m. ET in the video player above.

Karen L. Freeman, the acting assistant administrator for Asia at the U.S. Agency for International Development, will also testify.

Khalilzad told lawmakers on Monday that it no longer made sense to continue the 20-year deployment of American troops in Afghanistan.

At the same time, Khalilzad said he shared lawmakers’ concerns that the rights of women and minorities could be jeopardized after the withdrawal is complete.

Asked if the U.S. would retain any leverage to protect those rights once its troops are gone, Khalilzad was circumspect. He said if the Taliban want “U.S. assistance, they want international acceptance, they want to end their pariah state, they want de-listing, those things will be all affected by how they treat their own citizens, first and foremost, the women of Afghanistan, children and minorities.”

The State Department on Tuesday ordered a significant number of its remaining staff at the U.S. Embassy in Kabul to leave Afghanistan as the military steps up the pullout of American troops from the country.

The PBS NewsHour will update this story as it develops.

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