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It's no Nixon to China moment, but President Trump made history today with what is apparently the first presidential phone call with a top Taliban leader.

Why it matters: The prospect of a peaceful end to America's longest war is on the line.

What they're saying:

  • The Taliban's Twitter account got the scoop: "#Breaking The President of the United States Trump @realDonaldTrump held a phone conversation with the Political Deputy of the Islamic Emirate, the respected Mullah Baradar Akhund. Details later."
  • Trump later commented: “We’ve agreed there’s no violence. We don’t want violence. We’ll see what happens.”
  • "We had a very good conversation with the leader of the Taliban today they're looking to get this ended ... the country really has to get it ended, we've been there for 20 years ... the relationship I have is very good with the Mullah," Trump said.

The big picture: The deal Trump struck with the Taliban will not bring peace to the country anytime soon, Pentagon leaders acknowledged yesterday.

  • The Taliban has declared its “reduction in violence” over and says it will continue operations against Afghan troops.
  • Afghanistan’s president has objected to the deal’s condition that 5,000 Taliban prisoners be released.
  • The Afghan government said more than 20 people — including civilians, troops and insurgents — had been killed in a series of attacks in the 24 hours after the Taliban resumed offensive operations.
  • The Trump administration says its deal with the Taliban is intended to set the stage for a larger deal on Afghanistan’s future with the government in Kabul.

The bottom line: That larger deal looks a long way off

Go deeper: In Afghanistan, a deal but no peace

Go deeper

Biden's pick to lead major banking regulator drops out

Saule Omarova, nominee for Comptroller of the Currency, at a confirmation hearing on Nov. 18. Photo: Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images

President Biden's pick to head one of the country's most powerful banking regulators is dropping out of consideration for the post, according to a statement from Biden that accepted the withdrawal.

Why it matters: Saule Omarova, nominated to lead the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, faced a tough path to confirmation — with opposition from Republicans and moderate Democrats.

Judge temporarily blocks Biden vaccine mandate for federal contractors

President Biden delivers remarks at the White House on Dec. 6 in Washington, D.C. Photo: Chip Somodevilla via Getty Images

A federal judge on Tuesday temporarily blocked President Biden's vaccine mandate for federal contractors nationwide.

Why it matters: It's the latest setback in the Biden administration's rollout of COVID vaccine requirements. Federal judges in two states temporarily barred the administration from enforcing mandates for millions of workers last week.

Biden threatens Putin

Photo: Kremlin Press Office/Handout/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

In a video call that lasted for just over two hours on Tuesday, President Biden warned Russian President Vladimir Putin that if Russia invades Ukraine the U.S. will impose unprecedented sanctions and provide additional weaponry to the Ukrainians, national security adviser Jake Sullivan said.

Why it matters: Russia's military activity on the border with Ukraine has triggered alarms from the U.S. and its European allies of a potential large-scale Russian invasion in early 2022. Sullivan said Biden made clear to Putin that, "things we did not do in 2014, we are prepared to do now."