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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

Go deeper

USAID chief tests positive for coronavirus

An Air Force cargo jet delivers USAID supplies to Russia earlier this year. Photo: Mikhail Metzel/TASS via Getty Images

The acting administrator of the United States Agency for International Development informed senior staff Wednesday he has tested positive for coronavirus, two sources familiar with the call tell Axios.

Why it matters: John Barsa, who staffers say rarely wears a mask in their office, is the latest in a series of senior administration officials to contract the virus. His positive diagnosis comes amid broader turmoil at the agency following the election.

Bryan Walsh, author of Future
3 hours ago - Health

COVID-19 shows a bright future for vaccines

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

Promising results from COVID-19 vaccine trials offer hope not just that the pandemic could be ended sooner than expected, but that medicine itself may have a powerful new weapon.

Why it matters: Vaccines are, in the words of one expert, "the single most life-saving innovation ever," but progress had slowed in recent years. New gene-based technology that sped the arrival of the COVID vaccine will boost the overall field, and could even extend to mass killers like cancer.

5 hours ago - Health

Beware a Thanksgiving mirage

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Don't be surprised if COVID metrics plunge over the next few days, only to spike next week.

Why it matters: The COVID Tracking Project warns of a "double-weekend pattern" on Thanksgiving — where the usual weekend backlog of data is tacked on to a holiday.