Speed Reads

afghanistan conflict

Are the Biden administration's hopes of sustaining Taliban deal dead?

The Taliban have reportedly seized the Afghan city of Kunduz, the third provincial capital the group has overtaken in as many days.

Kunduz is a key city, militarily and politically, and its fall highlights the swiftness of the Taliban's advance in the wake of the U.S. troop withdrawal. It also further suggests that the Biden administration's slim hopes of keeping alive a tenuous deal, struck by the Trump administration and the Taliban, that sought to pave the way for a permanent ceasefire are dead, The Los Angeles Times' David Cloud writes.

Although the U.S. is pulling out of Afghanistan, the military did target the Taliban with airstrikes this weekend in hopes of slowing the group's offensive, but that too suggests the peace process is dwindling. Bloomberg's Eltaf Najafizada writes that it's possible the strikes could force the Taliban back into talks if they suffer a significant military setback, but it could also lead to an even "deadlier war" once the U.S. has fully exited the country.