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Zalmay Khalilzad , special representative on Afghanistan reconciliation, during a May congressional hearing on Capitol Hill. Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images

U.S. envoy for Afghanistan Zalmay Khalilzad will "press the Taliban to stop their military offensive and to negotiate a political settlement" during talks in Qatar's capital, Doha, this week, the State Department said.

Why it matters: As the Biden administration prepares to fully withdraw U.S. forces from Afghanistan on Aug. 31, the Taliban has seized six provincial capitals in the country. The Pentagon said Monday it's up to the Afghan government to defend these cities.

What to expect: Khalilzad will meet with the Taliban and representatives from government and multilateral organizations for three days of talks, per a statement from the State Department on Monday confirming his departure for Doha a day earlier.

  • He will "help formulate a joint international response to the rapidly deteriorating situation in Afghanistan" and push for "a reduction of violence and ceasefire and a commitment not to recognize a government imposed by force."
  • The State Department did not disclose details on what days the talks would take place this week.

Go deeper

Oct 16, 2021 - World

U.S. offers condolence payments to families of civilians killed in Kabul air strike

Department of Defense press secretary John Kirby (left) and U.S. Army Maj. Gen. William Taylor at a press briefing following the Kabul drone strike. Photo: Anna Moneymaker via Getty Images

The Pentagon has offered unspecified payments as a condolence to the families of 10 Afghan civilians, including seven children, who were killed in an Aug. 29 U.S. drone strike in Kabul.

Why it matters: Though U.S. military officials initially said the drone strike targeted an Islamic State member, they later admitted that Zemari Ahmadi, an aid worker who was driving the car struck by the drone, was an innocent victim.

"No-code" miracle for startups

Expand chart
Data: Interactive Advertising Bureau; Table: Axios Visuals

The U.S. has reached a tipping point in its shift from the industrial economy — one that relied on the buildout of hardware — to an information economy that relies on the transfer, storage and implementation of data, according to a new report.

Why it matters: This shift towards a data and information-based economy has allowed more businesses to establish themselves and scale quickly and at a very low cost. As such, the number of jobs created by the commercial internet has more than tripled since 2012.

Amazon's small business shield

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Amazon is touting the success of small sellers on its platform through the pandemic — and warning that antitrust legislation could jeopardize that success and blow up its open-marketplace model.

Why it matters: As online shopping became a lifeline for both businesses and consumers during the pandemic, Amazon reaped big benefits, but also saw its regulatory risk grow.