Sign up for our daily briefing

Make your busy days simpler with Axios AM/PM. Catch up on what's new and why it matters in just 5 minutes.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Stay on top of the latest market trends

Subscribe to Axios Markets for the latest market trends and economic insights. Sign up for free.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Sports news worthy of your time

Binge on the stats and stories that drive the sports world with Axios Sports. Sign up for free.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Tech news worthy of your time

Get our smart take on technology from the Valley and D.C. with Axios Login. Sign up for free.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Get the inside stories

Get an insider's guide to the new White House with Axios Sneak Peek. Sign up for free.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Denver news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Denver

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Des Moines news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Des Moines

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Twin Cities news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Twin Cities

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Tampa Bay news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Tampa Bay

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Charlotte news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Charlotte

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani listens to Secretary of State Pompeo at the Presidential Palace, in Kabul, on July 9, 2018. Photo: Wakil Kohsar/AFP via Getty Images

After a particularly violent summer, Afghanistan's president, Ashraf Ghani, proposed a three-month ceasefire with the Taliban this past Sunday, to begin on Monday. It follows a first ceasefire implemented during Eid al-Fitr, in June, which saw both Afghan security forces and Taliban insurgents refrain from attacks.

The big picture: The Taliban have not officially accepted or rejected Ghani’s offer. But if the Taliban want its demands — which include a U.S. troop withdrawal from Afghanistan and direct talks with the U.S. — met, the group needs to increase its legitimacy. Accepting Ghani’s ceasefire is a low-cost opportunity to do so.

The Taliban are militarily strong and have continued to challenge the Afghan government in recent months, as evidenced by the attacks in Farah, Ghazni, and Kunduz. But as the war in Afghanistan enters its 18th year, a consensus has emerged among all stakeholders — the U.S., the Afghan government, Afghanistan’s neighboring countries and the Taliban themselves — that the ongoing war in Afghanistan can’t end without a political solution. For example, Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asia Alice Wells met with Taliban officials in Qatar last month to restart peace talks, and continues to urge Pakistan to persuade the Taliban to negotiate.

The Taliban of course can simply reject the ceasefire and continue attacks on Afghan security forces. But in accepting Ghani’s offer, the group would show a serious interest in a political solution. It would also distinguish itself from other violent militant groups operating in Afghanistan, such as ISIS, which launched rockets on Kabul residents celebrating Eid on Tuesday.

The bottom line: A second ceasefire right now is in every major stakeholder's interest — even the Taliban’s. And while it would in all likelihood be insufficient to create legitimate and lasting avenues for political reconciliation, it is an essential step toward peace in Afghanistan.

Sahar Khan is a visiting research fellow in the Cato Institute's Defense and Foreign Policy Department.

Go deeper

N.Y. Times faces culture clashes as business booms

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

New York Times columnist David Brooks' resignation from a paid gig at a think tank on Saturday is the latest in a flurry of scandals that America's biggest and most successful newspaper company has endured in the past year.

Driving the news: Brooks resigned from the Aspen Institute following a BuzzFeed News investigation that uncovered conflicts of interest between Brooks' reporting and money he accepted from corporate donors for a project called "Weave" that he worked on at the nonprofit.

America rebalances its post-Trump news diet

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

Nearly halfway through President Biden's first 100 days, data shows that Americans are learning to wean themselves off of news — and especially politics.

Why it matters: The departure of former President Trump's once-ubiquitous presence in the news cycle has reoriented the country's attention.

2021 sees a record number of bills targeting trans youth

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

Republicans in at least 25 states have introduced over 60 bills targeting transgender children — a legislative boom since January that has beaten 2020's total number of anti-trans bills.

Why it matters: LGBTQ advocates say the unprecedented push was catalyzed by backlash to Biden's election and the Supreme Court ruling that workers cannot be fired for being gay or transgender.