Andrew Harnik/AP

In a letter to President Trump, the Taliban urged a withdrawal from Afghanistan, according to Al Jazeera.

"It seems to be a historical mistake on the part of the previous administrations to have dispatched American youth for the slaughter of Afghans," they wrote. "You need to study the mistakes of your predecessors and prevent death and injury to American forces in Afghanistan."

Bottom line: Republicans are getting restless waiting for a decision. In a June budget hearing, Sen. McCain told Sec. Mattis that it isn't "a hell of a lot to ask" for a winning strategy. And last Thursday, McCain revealed his own strategy, saying "time is of the essence if we intend to turn the tide," according to CNN.

  • As the third president in the almost 16-year war, Trump has yet to establish an official strategy for Afghanistan.
  • Trump expressed lack of confidence in U.S. commander Gen. John Nicholson, and said the U.S. is "losing" the war.
  • NBC reported yesterday that Sec. Mattis believes they are "very, very close" to finishing a strategy, but hasn't decided whether to deploy more troops or not.
  • But in June, there were reports that Mattis would be sending 4,000 additional troops.
  • Blackwater founder Erik Prince has urged Trump to privatize the war, sending private contractors to "advise Afghan combat forces," according to USA Today.
  • In the Taliban's letter, they write that if the war couldn't be won with professional troops, it will never be won "with mercenaries, notorious contractor firms, and immoral stooges."

Go deeper

President Trump's suburbs

Photo illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios. Photo: Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call.

President Trump cast an outdated vision of "the 'suburban housewife'" as he swiped this week at Joe Biden's newly minted running mate Kamala Harris — building on his months-long play to drive a wedge through battleground-state suburbs by reframing white voters' expectations.

The big picture: As he struggles to find an attack that will stick against the Biden campaign, Trump for a while now has been stoking fears of lawless cities and an end to what he's called the “Suburban Lifestyle Dream.” It’s a playbook from the ‘70s and ‘80s — but the suburbs have changed a lot since then.

Trump tightens screws on ByteDance to sell Tiktok

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

President Trump added more pressure Friday night on China-based TikTok parent ByteDance to exit the U.S., ordering it to divest all assets related to the U.S. operation of TikTok within 90 days.

Between the lines: The order means ByteDance must be wholly disentangled from TikTok in the U.S. by November. Trump had previously ordered TikTok banned if ByteDance hadn't struck a deal within 45 days. The new order likely means ByteDance has just another 45 days after that to fully close the deal, one White House source told Axios.

Updated 10 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 9:30 p.m. ET: 21,056,850 — Total deaths: 762,293— Total recoveries: 13,100,902Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 9:30 p.m ET: 5,306,215 — Total deaths: 168,334 — Total recoveries: 1,796,309 — Total tests: 65,676,624Map.
  3. Health: CDC: Survivors of COVID-19 have up to three months of immunity Fauci believes normalcy will return by "the end of 2021" with vaccine — The pandemic's toll on mental health — FDA releases first-ever list of medical supplies in shortage.
  4. States: California passes 600,000 confirmed coronavirus cases.
  5. Cities: Coronavirus pandemic dims NYC's annual 9/11 Tribute in Light.
  6. Business: How small businesses got stiffed — Unemployment starts moving in the right direction.
  7. Politics: Biden signals fall strategy with new ads.