Why it matters: These renewed efforts are key to paving the way for direct talks between the Taliban and the government in Kabul to end a more than 18-year war, AP notes. The first goal for the U.S. is to encourage the Taliban to reduce violence, and ultimately agree to a permanent cease fire. The group has carried out numerous deadly attacks since talks fell apart earlier this year.
Trump won't release peace plan before Israel's election
President Trump has decided not to publish his Israeli-Palestinian peace plan, or parts of it, before Israel's Sept. 17 elections, White House special envoy Jason Greenblatt said in a tweet.
Why it matters: Trump has spoken twice about this issue in the last 2 weeks, and he had raised the possibility the plan would be at least partially released before the elections. That could have had a big influence on the outcome of the elections and on the formation of the next governing coalition. The president and his Middle East “peace team," headed by Jared Kushner, had several discussions on this issue before deciding to wait, a White House official tells me.