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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

36 mins ago - Health

Cuomo advisers reportedly altered July COVID-19 nursing homes report

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo. Photo: Seth Wenig/AFP via Getty Images

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo's advisers successfully pushed state health officials to exclude certain data on the number of COVID-19 nursing home deaths from a July report, the Wall Street Journal reported late Thursday.

Why it matters: The changes resulted in a "significant undercount of the death toll attributed to the state’s most vulnerable population," the WSJ wrote.

Ro Khanna wary of Biden approach on Middle East

Rep. Ro Khanna. Photo: Cody Glenn/Sportsfile for Web Summit via Getty Images

An outspoken progressive Democrat is wary of President Biden’s approach to the Middle East, arguing it’s like “conceding defeat of the aspiration” to win a Nobel Peace Prize.

Why it matters: A number of members of Biden’s own party dislike his Middle East strategy, as his administration signals the region is no longer the priority it was for President Obama and his predecessors.

Democrats eye reconciliation for immigration

Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Comprehensive immigration reform is a pipe dream, but some Senate Democrats are hoping to tie key immigration provisions to the next big reconciliation push.

Why it matters: Immigration is one of the most controversial and partisan issues in U.S. politics, which is why the budget reconciliation process — which allows for bills to pass the Senate with a simple majority rather than the usual 60 votes — is so attractive.