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Photo: Karim Jaafar/AFP/Getty Images

The State Department confirmed Friday morning the U.S. and Taliban have "reached an understanding" that starts a 7-day "reduction of violence" to be followed by a signed U.S.-Taliban agreement.

Why it matters: The Afghanistan war is the longest war in U.S. history. President Trump has previously pulled out of talks at the last minute, only to restart them.

What's next: The U.S. and Taliban are expected to formally sign the agreement on Feb. 29, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said in a statement on Friday. That will be followed by intra-Afghanistan peace talks.

"After decades of conflict, we have come to an understanding with the Taliban on a significant reduction in violence across #Afghanistan. This is an important step on a long road to peace, and I call on all Afghans to seize this opportunity."
— Sec. of State Mike Pompeo, on Twitter

State of play: Afghanistan's President Ashraf Ghani won re-election on Feb. 18 — five months after the elections initially took place.

  • There's long been a dispute between the official government and the Taliban over who speaks for Afghanistan.
  • The Taliban has previously refused to meet with Ghani to discuss peace talks, calling him a "puppet of the U.S."

The bottom line: While the U.S. and Taliban have reached some-type of understanding, it doesn't guarantee intra-Afghanistan peace talks will go over smoothly.

Go deeper: The Afghanistan conundrum

Go deeper

Updated 59 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Capitol review panel recommends more police, mobile fencing

Photo: Olivier Douliery/AFP via Getty Images

A panel appointed by Congress to review security measures at the Capitol is recommending several changes, including mobile fencing and a bigger Capitol police force, to safeguard the area after a riotous mob breached the building on Jan. 6.

Why it matters: Law enforcement officials have warned there could be new plots to attack the area and target lawmakers, including during a speech President Biden is expected to give to a joint session of Congress.

CDC says fully vaccinated people can take fewer precautions

Photo: Filip Filipovic/Getty Images

People who have been fully vaccinated against COVID-19 can take fewer precautions in certain situations, including socializing indoors without masks when in the company of low-risk or other vaccinated individuals, according to guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released Monday.

Why it matters: Per the report, there's early evidence that suggests vaccinated people are less likely to have asymptomatic infection and are potentially less likely to transmit the virus to other people. At the time of its publication, the CDC said the guidance would apply to about 10% of Americans.

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