Feb 28, 2018

Afghanistan offers to recognize Taliban in bid for peace talks

Ashraf Ghani speaks at the Council On Foreign Relations. Photo: Andrew Burton/Getty Images

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani proposed recognizing the Taliban as an official political party in order to initiate peace talks, reports Reuters. Ghani made the comments at an Afghan-led peace conference where he also proposed a ceasefire, the release of prisoners, new elections and a constitutional review involving the militant group.

Why it matters: Having previously called the Taliban "terrorists" and "rebels," Ghani's shift in rhetoric breaks from the position of the Trump administration, which has asserted the U.S. has no interest in speaking to the militant organization. Meanwhile, the Taliban expressed interest in entering peace talks with the U.S. this month in an open letter to the American people, but has shown no signs of wanting to negotiate with Kabul.

What else: The proposal would require the Taliban to "recognize the Afghan government and respect the rule of law," according to Reuters. Ghani's speech also called on the international community to help initiate peace talks with Pakistan, which was recently added to the FATF's terrorist financing watchlist.

Go deeper: Peace has never been more elusive in Afghanistan

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Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins, the CDC, and China's Health Ministry. Note: China numbers are for the mainland only and U.S. numbers include repatriated citizens.

The novel coronavirus is now affecting every continent but Antarctica and the WHO said Wednesday the number of new cases reported outside China has exceeded those inside the country for the first time.

The big picture: COVID-19 has killed more than 2,800 people and infected over 82,000 others in some 50 countries and territories. As Denmark and Estonia reported their first cases Thursday, Scott Morrison, prime minister of Australia — which has 23 confirmed infections — told a news conference, "The risk of a global pandemic is very much upon us."

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Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett in 2012. Photo: John Gress/Corbis via Getty Images

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Details: All of the victims worked at the brewery complex, as did the shooter who died of "an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound, police confirmed in a statement late Wednesday.

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President Trump with members of the new coronavirus task force, including Vice President Mike Pence at the White House on Wednesday. Photo: Tasos Katopodis/Getty Images

Dr. Ezekiel Emanuel, special advisor to the director general of the World Health Organization, told MSNBC Wednesday he found "most" of what President Trump said at his briefing on the novel coronavirus "incoherent."

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