A Secret Accord With the Taliban: When and How the U.S. Would Leave Afghanistan by David E. Sanger, Eric Schmitt and Thomas Gibbons-Neff - New York Times
In a secure facility underneath the Capitol, members of Congress stopped by all last week to review two classified annexes to the Afghan peace accord with the Taliban that set the criteria for a critical element of the agreement: What constitutes enough “peace” for the United States to withdraw its forces?
The Taliban have read the annexes. Nonetheless, the Trump administration insists that the secret documents must remain secret, though officials have struggled to explain why to skeptical lawmakers.
Defense Secretary Mark T. Esper, in congressional testimony, appeared unaware of — or seemed unwilling to discuss — the secret annexes just days before the agreement was signed. And lawmakers who have paid the most attention to the peace plan also openly express frustration with the lack of a mechanism for verifying compliance that they believe Secretary of State Mike Pompeo had promised.
At the core of the two documents, according to people familiar with their contents, is a timeline for what should happen over the next 18 months, what kinds of attacks are prohibited by both sides and, most important, how the United States will share information about its troop locations with the Taliban…