U.S. Rep. Mike Waltz, R-Fla., the only freshman Republican on the U.S. House Armed Services Committee and who served several combat tours as a Green Beret in Afghanistan, took to the national airwaves to weigh in on the Trump administration and the Taliban agreeing “in principle” on a peace deal.
Waltz, a former aide to Vice President Dick Cheney and the first Green Beret to serve in Congress, appeared on Fox News on Tuesday and expressed his reservations about the agreement.
“I’m skeptical at this point. I think we eventually need to drive this type of a deal, but I’m not sure that we’re there yet,” Waltz told Dana Perino from Fox News. “The thing that has me so concerned, is the Taliban saying, ‘Trust us, we won’t let Al Qaeda in, we won’t let terrorists operate from Afghanistan and strike the United States anymore.’ … What is the verification regime? How do we know that is not going to happen? We obviously can’t send inspectors over… I think the verification is the SEALs, our Predators, our counterterrorism efforts that have to remain in place. Well, guess what? That’s what’s currently there.
“The other piece is we have to continue to build the Afghan Army so that eventually they can take care of this themselves and say, ‘Trust us, we can take care of it,’” Waltz added. “And guess what? That’s what is currently there. So, talk of withdrawal means you’re pulling those verification pieces away… The United States has to lead. We have to keep a lid on these groups, and if we just pull out, I’m worried that 20 terrorist groups, which exist in Afghanistan and Pakistan today, will hit the United States again.”
Waltz has served as a senior policy advisor on defense and counterterrorism in both the Pentagon and the White House.
A graduate of VMI, Waltz served in the Army Special Forces in Afghanistan and is now the first Green Beret ever elected to Congress. He worked in George W. Bush’s administration, including as an advisor to Vice President Dick Cheney. Since then, Waltz has made the rounds on cable TV including as a Fox News contributor but he has also made appearances on CNN, MSNBC, PBS and other channels. In November, Waltz won an open congressional seat representing parts of Northeast and Central Florida, replacing Republican Ron DeSantis who was elected governor.
Kevin Derby can be reached at Kevin.Derby@floridadaily.com.