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President Trump on an unannounced Thanksgiving day visit at Bagram Air Field in Afghanistan. Photo: Olivier Douliery/AFP via Getty Images

President Trump's Thanksgiving declaration that the U.S. has relaunched peace talks with the Taliban apparently caught the Taliban by surprise, the New York Times reports.

The big picture: Trump's stated belief that the group now wants a cease-fire exceeds the terms of the Afghan peace plan that both countries were prepared to sign in September.

  • Neither the Taliban nor the Afghan government indicated on Friday that a cease-fire is currently being discussed with the U.S., per the Washington Post.
  • Trump faced significant skepticism from Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and national security adviser John Bolton about whether the peace deal draft earlier this year — which did not explicitly include an agreement for a cease-fire — was strong enough for the U.S. to sign.

Where it stands: The Afghan government set ceasefire as a precondition for further peace talks with the Taliban last month, per the Post. The Taliban told the Post that the group holds "the same stance to resume the talks" since Trump abruptly suspended the negotiations in September following a deadly bombing in Kabul, Afghanistan.

Go deeper: Taliban attacks kill at least 48 in Afghanistan after U.S. peace talks fail

Go deeper

Updated 47 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Omicron dashboard

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

  1. Health: First known U.S. case of Omicron variant identified in California — America probably won't lead the effort to understand Omicron — CDC prepares tougher testing rules for international travelers.
  2. Politics: Omicron travel bans are sign of what's to come — Meta removes accounts linked to COVID disinformation effort by China.
  3. Vaccines: Omicron adds urgency to vaccinating world — Omicron fuels the case for COVID boosters — Moderna loses patent battles tied to COVID vaccine.
  4. World: Germany approves new restrictions for unvaccinated people — Omicron variant detected in more countriesWHO advises people 60 or older to postpone travel due to Omicron
  5. Variant tracker: Where different strains are spreading.
Updated 2 hours ago - Politics & Policy

U.S. faces urgent anti-hacker crisis

Illustration: Allie Carl/Axios

The Biden administration is accelerating efforts to fill nearly 600,000 vacant cybersecurity positions in the public and private sectors bogging down efforts to protect digital infrastructure.

Why it matters: Following a deluge of ransomware attacks targeting critical government and corporate infrastructure this year, clogs in the talent pipeline are leaving federal, cash-strapped local governments and Big Business even more susceptible to hacking.

Mike Allen, author of AM
7 hours ago - World

Courage vs. coddling with China

Peng Shuai of China serves during the China Open in Beijing in 2017. Photo: Andy Wong/AP

The women's professional tennis tour suspended tournaments in China Wednesday out of concern for Peng Shuai, on the same day that a top business voice made excuses for Beijing.

Why it matters: Ahead of February's Winter Olympics in Beijing, some sports figures are taking on the regime — while Big Business shrinks from confrontation with the world's second-largest economy.