Middle East

Report: U.S. considers asking Afghanistan to postpone election

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani and U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. Photo: Wakil Kohsar /AFP/Getty Images
Afghan President Ashraf Ghani and U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. Photo: Wakil Kohsar /AFP/Getty Images

The Trump administration is considering pressuring the Afghan government to postpone next year's presidential election as it seeks a peace deal with the Taliban to end the 17-year war, reports the Wall Street Journal, citing people briefed on the talks.

Why it matters: Some officials in Washington fear that voting irregularities and violence that routinely occur in Afghan elections could undermine or destroy the prospect of a peace deal. But this request “would be a contentious move that runs counter to the long-held U.S. objective of promoting democracy in Afghanistan," and it could potentially create friction between both countries, the WSJ writes. President Ashraf Ghani has already come out against such a proposal.

Trump's Iran bet might be a long shot

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

President Trump has risked a split with America's closest allies and a possible ramp up in Iran's aggression, or even its nuclear program, in pursuing the hardline policies that culminated today in the restoration of sanctions on the country's oil, shipping and financial sectors.

Why it matters: The administration is betting the sanctions will hit the Iranian economy hard and force the regime to change course (or, perhaps, to change). The sanctions will indeed be painful, particularly as the SWIFT global payments system has now announced it’s cutting off several Iranian banks. But experts are far from convinced the pain will cause the regime to move in the direction Trump would like to push it.

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