Unpaid Royalties is a series about the myriad ways that the music industry exploits Black artists—and what’s being done to change them. Read more here.
Last month, Kanye West sparked a conversation about predatory record deals when he posted hundreds of pages of his record contract with Universal Music Group on Twitter, claiming that modern deals are designed to leave the artist in debt to the label. While some people called out West for being hypocritical, perhaps the most memorable reply came from Los Angeles producer Hit-Boy. On Instagram, the 33-year-old said that while he was no longer “a fan of Kanye on a personal / human level,” he agreed with the rapper’s characterization of the industry: Since signing a publishing deal with Universal Music when he was just 19, he’d been locked into “the worst publishing contract” his lawyers had ever seen, one that gave him a $50,000 advance at signing but still treats him like newcomer, he told VICE. “Slave deals are still very real /rampant in 2020,” he concludes in the post, echoing Kanye’s comparison of the music industry and the NBA to “modern day slave ships.”
By all appearances, Hit-Boy, aka Chauncey Hollis, is one of the most successful producers in the game. After earning his first placement in 2007, he popped onto the world’s radar after producing “Ni**as in Paris” with Jay-Z and West in 2011. Seven Grammy nominations and two actual awards later, he’s showing no signs of slowing down: In this year alone, he’s executive-produced albums by Big Sean and Nas, in addition to gathering production credits with Lil Baby, Jay Electronica, and Tee Grizzley. As he previously told VICE, he’s sitting on other collaborations, too, with artists ranging from 03 Greedo to Justin Timberlake. But, as he explained on Instagram, appearances can be deceiving in the record industry.
“Im 33 now and have multiple Grammys, produced a lot of your favorite artists biggest songs on top of turning in over 450+ records since I first signed and @umpg still doesnt have it in them to simply be fair,” he wrote. “If they’re doing this to me with all I’ve accomplished through hard work I can only imagine the kids who don’t have big placements/ proper guidance.”
Hit-Boy has a long history of speaking out against his struggle in an industry notorious for wringing money out of talent without fair compensation. In fact, he’s been committing these grievances to wax for years—including some of his experiences working with West’s own G.O.O.D. Music label, which he signed with in 2011. “Flew out to work on Watch the Throne, felt like I had to sign to G.O.O.D,” he rapped on “Show Me” in 2015. Even then, he felt undervalued, rapping that he’d been “made to feel less than what I’m worth.”
He’s also compared his contract to one of an incarcerated dealer whose territories have been taken over. On his 2017 song “The Mob,” Hit-Boy does a prison phone-style outro where he complains about “crackers shipping out of state” without his permission, “everything is on contract.” On his 2019 album The Chauncey Hollis Project, he alludes to the situation with UMG a bit more directly. “Ten plus in this shit and they still doubt Hit / I should hand ni**as a contract, like fill out this,” he raps on “All Business.” “Burn your contract, call the firefighters,” he quips on “Levitating.”
If a consistent and prolific producer like Hit-Boy can be locked in a deal that his lawyers consider remarkable in its awful terms, up-and-coming artists and producers are likely to fall into similar traps. VICE caught up with Hit-Boy to hear the details of his own situation, what needs to change in the industry, and his advice for new producers fielding offers in the industry.
VICE: You mentioned in a previous interview that some things in record contracts need to be extinct. Can you speak on some of the specifics?
Hit-Boy: Whatever language it is that holds people in contracts and doesn’t make sense—whether it’s on the publishing side, with MDRC [Minimum Delivery Release Commitment, which stipulates a number of songs are produced and released per year] or whatever other thing they put in contracts for you to not be able progress through your deal properly. With all the songs I’ve done, they should be at least able to look at that and say, “This deal no longer makes sense for this guy.” But since they’ve got the paperwork signed, they don’t have to move. But it’s just wrong, period. And they know it, too.
What was it like in 2007 to be presented with a big contract, trying to make sense of whether it’s good or not?
Ah, man. Honestly, after I signed the deal, I just went into producer mode and I was moreso trying to prove myself musically. When I made a hit, that was my whole thing. I’m trying to make hits; I’m trying to get paid. I’m trying to do my shit. So I didn’t realize until even later. When I initially signed, it was moreso about the opportunity, and being in a position where the artist is coming through. I wasn’t just at the house making beats; I actually had a studio setup, with different artists pulling up every day.
“That was the point that I realized I was in a terrible deal so they didn’t have to give me any money.”
You signed your Universal deal in 2007, but you said it wasn’t until you had a track on Watch the Throne in 2011 that you realized it was fucked up.
Right. So that was almost five years later. I didn’t even realize I had to catch an actual big hit to be able to go back and be like, Damn, ok, what’s going on? It took years for me to even know, so that’s already messed up. From my personal situation, it’s a lot of trickery. Even the lawyer that did my deal, he didn’t end up being my actual lawyer. The original team I had basically hired him as a dummy lawyer to put me in this contract so they didn’t look like the bad guy, when at the end of the day, they really are the bad guy.
Wayno [VP of Asylum Records] said something. I was watching Everyday Struggle, [and] Wayno was like, “Man, I’m sure when Hit-Boy produced ‘Ni**as in Paris’ they waved that big bag in front of him, and it looked good at the time.” That wasn’t even the point when I got any bread. That was the point that I realized I was in a terrible deal so they didn’t have to give me any money. It’s crazy that’s how people think, when that’s not even what happened. I was just scratching the surface of understanding how fucked up my situation was.
“People in the building—I don’t even want to get into names, but there are people in the UMPG building that have said, ‘This is unethical; this is wrong. This is not right.’”
Why do you think there’s a system in place that even a producer with your credits is not happy?
[The corporations] only having the knowledge—the true knowledge of what the deals are saying. And money, at the end of the day. I’m printing free money for them because, shit, they didn’t have to invest nothing, and I’m steady getting placement after placement, album after album, it’s like, “Ok, we’re just getting free money at this point. We don’t have to advance him through his deal because the old terminology says this.” I feel like that’s wrong. People _in the building_—I don’t even want to get into names, but there are people in the UMPG building that have said, “This is unethical; this is wrong. This is not right.”
We’ve talked about how it’s hard to think about having a hit, number-one single when you’re signing your first deal, imagining the points within it even coming to fruition. Is there any advice you’d give young producers, things they should look out for that could bite them in the ass later on
Even when you have a lawyer, get a second opinion. Try to dig deep into terms; try to have a clear understanding. Know the exit plan. Know that if it goes on for this many years and this amount of time, then we both just walk away from the shit.
Don’t take anybody’s one opinion as everything. Take gems from as many people as you can, and just try to put it together and form your own idea of what’s supposed to be going on.
With producers now labeling themselves as artists on songs, does that help at all in terms of leverage? Nah, it just helps with the branding. With [Nipsey Hustle’s Grammy Award-winning 2019 single] “Racks in the Middle,” I’m glad Nip was open to [crediting me], because the song was originally mine anyway, so it was just love for him to feature me on it. If I wasn’t featured on it, I wouldn’t have got a trophy.
If you’re a new producer—say, just out of high school—how do you know which opinions to trust when you’re talking about legalese and specific terminology?
That’s the thing. You don’t, man. Me, personally—I had to bump my head over and over, really get into the dungeon and make some hits to even open the gates and open my eyes. Everybody’s gonna have a different story, but if anybody was to read this or see this: Just try to be patient and gather as much information as you can from as many people as you can.
Are there things you’ve thought about, changes you want to see as far as artists getting more equitable deals in the future?
Anything that’s going to hold somebody in a deal for fuckin’ 14, 28—however many years. Some shit just don’t add up. I can’t really speak on the exact terminology and what it means, but however they’re setting the shit up, or they had it set up prior, is all wrong.
“A lot of people going, ‘I’m in the same situation.’ Or people that were in a situation like me.”
What has the label’s response been since you started speaking out in interviews and on Instagram?
We have been in some talks, but at the end of the day, I feel like it’s still not adding up to the amount of work I’ve put in for what they’re trying to offer me. Any extra time in this deal, at this point, feels like I’m a prisoner or—I know everybody’s using the “slave” term, “slave” deal, whatever, but it can feel like that because you turn in so many joints and it’s like, Ok, you’re still trying to tell me that I haven’t done enough to progress out of this? They can still treat me like the guy I was when I was 19. They know they only gave me $50,000. That’s really all they ever have to risk: Me not making the $50,000 back. They never risked any other money on me. They never took a chance on me. They’ll try to fix it up like they’re trying to help you out, but really they’re not.
Have other artists or producers reached out to tell you to keep going, or ask what they can do for you?
Definitely. All types of artists—major, major artists. I don’t want to put no names out there, but a lot of respect. A lot of producers—my DMs have just been flooded with people showing respect. A lot of people going, “I’m in the same situation.” Or people that were in a situation like me.
Was there an idea at the beginning that if you made hits and you fulfilled your end of the bargain, shit would work out? That’s how I always looked at it. And it’s frustrating to know that, even to this day, I haven’t got my deal right. I don’t know. It’s a lot.
All the products we found to be the best during our testing this year
Throughout the year, CNN Underscored is constantly testing products — be it coffee makers or headphones — to find the absolute best in each respective category.
Our testing process is rigorous, consisting of hours of research (consulting experts, reading editorial reviews and perusing user ratings) to find the top products in each category. Once we settle on a testing pool, we spend weeks — if not months — testing and retesting each product multiple times in real-world settings. All this in an effort to settle on the absolute best products.
So, as we enter peak gifting season, if you’re on the hunt for the perfect gift, we know you’ll find something on this list that they (or you!) will absolutely love.
Beginner baristas and coffee connoisseurs alike will be pleased with the Baratza Virtuoso+, a conical burr grinder with 40 settings for grind size, from super fine (espresso) to super coarse (French press). The best coffee grinder we tested, this sleek look and simple, intuitive controls, including a digital timer, allow for a consistent grind every time — as well as optimal convenience.
Best drip coffee maker: Braun KF6050WH BrewSense Drip Coffee Maker ($79.95; amazon.com)
During our testing of drip coffee makers, we found the Braun KF6050WH BrewSense Drip Coffee Maker made a consistently delicious, hot cup of coffee, brewed efficiently and cleanly, from sleek, relatively compact hardware that is turnkey to operate, and all for a reasonable price.
Best single-serve coffee maker: Breville-Nespresso VertuoPlus ($165; originally $179.95; amazon.com)
Among all single-serve coffee makers we tested, the Breville-Nespresso VertuoPlus, which uses pods that deliver both espresso and “regular” coffee, could simply not be beat for its convenience. Intuitive and a snap to use right out of the box, it looks sleek on the counter, contains a detached 60-ounce water reservoir so you don’t have to refill it with each use and delivers perfectly hot, delicious coffee with a simple tap of a lever and press of a button.
Best coffee subscription: Blue Bottle (starting at $11 per shipment; bluebottlecoffee.com)
Blue Bottle’s coffee subscription won us over with its balance of variety, customizability and, most importantly, taste. We sampled both the single-origin and blend assortments and loved the flavor of nearly every single cup we made. The flavors are complex and bold but unmistakably delicious. Beyond its coffee, Blue Bottle’s subscription is simple and easy to use, with tons of options to tailor to your caffeine needs.
Best cold brewer coffee maker: Hario Mizudashi Cold Brew Coffeepot ($25; amazon.com)
This sleek, sophisticated and streamlined carafe produces 1 liter (about 4 1/4 cups) of rich, robust brew in just eight hours. It was among the simplest to assemble, it executed an exemplary brew in about the shortest time span, and it looked snazzy doing it. Plus, it rang up as the second-most affordable of our inventory.
Best nonstick pan: T-fal E76597 Ultimate Hard Anodized Nonstick Fry Pan With Lid ($39.97; amazon.com)
If you’re a minimalist and prefer to have just a single pan in your kitchen, you’d be set with the T-fal E76597. This pan’s depth gives it multipurpose functionality: It cooks standard frying-pan foods like eggs and meats, and its 2 1/2-inch sides are tall enough to prepare recipes you’d usually reserve for pots, like rices and stews. It’s a high-quality and affordable pan that outperformed some of the more expensive ones in our testing field.
Best blender: Breville Super Q ($499.95; breville.com)
With 1,800 watts of motor power, the Breville Super Q features a slew of preset buttons, comes in multiple colors, includes key accessories and is touted for being quieter than other models. At $500, it does carry a steep price tag, but for those who can’t imagine a smoothie-less morning, what breaks down to about $1.30 a day over a year seems like a bargain.
Best knife set: Chicago Cutlery Fusion 17-Piece Knife Block Set ($119.74; amazon.com)
The Chicago Cutlery Fusion 17-Piece Knife Block Set sets you up to easily take on almost any cutting job and is a heck of a steal at just $119.97. Not only did the core knives included (chef’s, paring, utility and serrated) perform admirably, but the set included a bevy of extras, including a full set of steak knives. We were blown away by their solid construction and reliable execution for such an incredible value. The knives stayed sharp through our multitude of tests, and we were big fans of the cushion-grip handles that kept them from slipping, as well as the classic look of the chestnut-stained wood block. If you’re looking for a complete knife set you’ll be proud of at a price that won’t put a dent in your savings account, this is the clear winner.
Best true wireless earbuds: AirPods Pro ($199, originally $249; amazon.com)
Apple’s AirPods Pro hit all the marks. They deliver a wide soundstage, thanks to on-the-fly equalizing tech that produces playback that seemingly brings you inside the studio with the artist. They have the best noise-canceling ability of all the earbuds we tested, which, aside from stiff-arming distractions, creates a truly immersive experience. To sum it up, you’re getting a comfortable design, a wide soundstage, easy connectivity and long battery life.
Best noise-canceling headphones: Sony WH-1000XM4 ($278, originally $349.99; amazon.com)
Not only do the WH-1000XM4s boast class-leading sound, but phenomenal noise-canceling ability. So much so that they ousted our former top overall pick, the Beats Solo Pros, in terms of ANC quality, as the over-ear XM4s better seal the ear from outside noise. Whether it was a noise from a dryer, loud neighbors down the hall or high-pitched sirens, the XM4s proved impenetrable. This is a feat that other headphones, notably the Solo Pros, could not compete with — which is to be expected considering their $348 price tag.
Best on-ear headphones: Beats Solo 3 ($119.95, originally $199.95; amazon.com)
The Beats Solo 3s are a phenomenal pair of on-ear headphones. Their sound quality was among the top of those we tested, pumping out particularly clear vocals and instrumentals alike. We enjoyed the control scheme too, taking the form of buttons in a circular configuration that blend seamlessly into the left ear cup design. They are also light, comfortable and are no slouch in the looks department — more than you’d expect given their reasonable $199.95 price tag.
The Stila Stay All Day Liquid Lipstick has thousands of 5-star ratings across the internet, and it’s easy to see why. True to its name, this product clings to your lips for hours upon hours, burritos and messy breakfast sandwiches be damned. It’s also surprisingly moisturizing for such a superior stay-put formula, a combo that’s rare to come by.
The Stila Stay All Day Waterproof Liquid Eyeliner is a longtime customer favorite — hence its nearly 7,500 5-star reviews on Sephora — and for good reason. We found it requires little to no effort to create a precise wing, the liner has superior staying power and it didn’t irritate those of us with sensitive skin after full days of wear. As an added bonus, it’s available in a whopping 12 shades.
The Steelcase Series 1 scored among the highest overall, standing out as one of the most customizable, high-quality, comfortable office chairs on the market. At $415, the Steelcase Series 1 beat out most of its pricier competitors across testing categories, scoring less than a single point lower than our highest-rated chair, the $1,036 Steelcase Leap, easily making it the best bang for the buck and a clear winner for our best office chair overall.
Best ergonomic keyboard: Logitech Ergo K860 ($129.99; logitech.com)
We found the Logitech Ergo K860 to be a phenomenally comfortable keyboard. Its build, featuring a split keyboard (meaning there’s a triangular gap down the middle) coupled with a wave-like curvature across the body, allows both your shoulders and hands to rest in a more natural position that eases the tension that can often accompany hours spent in front of a regular keyboard. Add the cozy palm rest along the bottom edge and you’ll find yourself sitting pretty comfortably.
Best ergonomic mouse: Logitech MX Master 3 ($99.99; logitech.com)
The Logitech MX Master 3 is an unequivocally comfortable mouse. It’s shaped to perfection, with special attention to the fingers that do the clicking. Using it felt like our fingers were lounging — with a sculpted ergonomic groove for nearly every finger.
Best ring light: Emart 10-Inch Selfie Ring Light ($25.99; amazon.com)
The Emart 10-Inch Standing Ring Light comes with a tripod that’s fully adjustable — from 19 inches to 50 inches — making it a great option whether you’re setting it atop your desk for video calls or need some overhead lighting so no weird shadows creep into your photos. Its three light modes (warm, cool and a nice mix of the two), along with 11 brightness levels (among the most settings on any of the lights we tested), ensure you’re always framed in the right light. And at a relatively cheap $35.40, this light combines usability and affordability better than any of the other options we tested.
Best linen sheets: Parachute Linen Sheet Set (starting at $149; parachute.com)
Well made, luxurious to the touch and with the most versatile shopping options (six sizes, nine colors and the ability to order individual sheets), the linen sheets from Parachute were, by a narrow margin, our favorite set. From the satisfying unboxing to a sumptuous sleep, with a la carte availability, Parachute set the gold standard in linen luxury.
Best shower head: Kohler Forte Shower Head (starting at $74.44; amazon.com)
Hands down, the Kohler Forte Shower Head provides the best overall shower experience, offering three distinct settings. Backstory: Lots of shower heads out there feature myriad “settings” that, when tested, are pretty much indecipherable. The Forte’s three sprays, however, are each incredibly different and equally successful. There’s the drenching, full-coverage rain shower, the pulsating massage and the “silk spray” setting that is basically a super-dense mist. The Forte manages to achieve all of this while using only 1.75 gallons per minute (GPM), making it a great option for those looking to conserve water.
Best humidifier: TaoTronics Cool Mist Humidifier (starting at $49.99; amazon.com)
The TaoTronics Cool Mist Humidifier ramped up the humidity in a room in about an hour, which was quicker than most of the options we tested. More importantly, though, it sustained those humidity levels over the longest period of time — 24 hours, to be exact. The levels were easy to check with the built-in reader (and we cross-checked that reading with an external reader to confirm accuracy). We also loved how easy this humidifier was to clean, and the nighttime mode for the LED reader eliminated any bright lights in the bedroom.
Best TV: TCL 6-Series (starting at $579.99; bestbuy.com)
With models starting at $599.99 for a 55-inch, the TCL 6-Series might give you reverse sticker shock considering everything you get for that relatively small price tag. But can a 4K smart TV with so many specification standards really deliver a good picture for $500? The short answer: a resounding yes. The TCL 6-Series produces a vibrant picture with flexible customization options and handles both HDR and Dolby Vision, optimization standards that improve the content you’re watching by adding depth to details and expanding the color spectrum.
Best streaming device: Roku Ultra ($99.99; amazon.com)
Roku recently updated its Ultra streaming box and the 2020 version is faster, thanks to a new quad-core processor. The newest Ultra retains all of the features we loved and enjoyed about the 2019 model, like almost zero lag time between waking it up and streaming content, leading to a hiccup-free streaming experience. On top of that, the Roku Ultra can upscale content to deliver the best picture possible on your TV — even on older-model TVs that don’t offer the latest and greatest picture quality — and supports everything from HD to 4K.
Best carry-on luggage: Away Carry-On ($225; away.com)
The Away Carry-On scored high marks across all our tests and has the best combination of features for the average traveler. Compared with higher-end brands like Rimowa, which retail for hundreds more, you’re getting the same durable materials, an excellent internal compression system and eye-catching style. Add in smart charging capabilities and a lifetime warranty, and this was the bag to beat.
Best portable charger: Anker PowerCore 13000 (starting at $31.99; amazon.com)
The Anker PowerCore 13000 shone most was in terms of charging capacity. It boasts 13,000 mAh (maH is a measure of how much power a device puts out over time), which is enough to fully charge an iPhone 11 two and a half times. Plus, it has two fast-charging USB Type-A ports so you can juice a pair of devices simultaneously. While not at the peak in terms of charging capacity, at just $31.99, it’s a serious bargain for so many mAhs.
Trump’s misleading tweet about changing your vote, briefly explained
Searches for changing one’s vote did not trend following the recent presidential debate, and just a few states appear to have processes for changing an early vote. But that didn’t stop President Trump from wrongly saying otherwise on Tuesday.
In early morning posts, the president falsely claimed on Twitter and Facebook that many people had Googled “Can I change my vote?” after the second presidential debate and said those searching wanted to change their vote over to him. Trump also wrongly claimed that most states have a mechanism for changing one’s vote. Actually, just a few states appear to have the ability, and it’s rarely used.
Trump’s claim about what was trending on Google after the debate doesn’t hold up. Searches for changing one’s vote were not among Google’s top trending searches for the day of the debate (October 22) or the day after. Searches for “Can I change my vote?” did increase slightly around the time of the debate, but there is no way to know whether the bump was related to the debate or whether the people searching were doing so in support of Trump.
It was only after Trump’s posts that searches about changing your vote spiked significantly. It’s worth noting that people were also searching for “Can I change my vote?” during a similar period before the 2016 presidential election.
Google declined to comment on the accuracy of Trump’s post.
Trump also claimed that these results indicate that most of the people who were searching for how to change their vote support him. But the Google Trends tool for the searches he mentioned does not provide that specific information.
Perhaps the most egregiously false claim in Trump’s recent posts is about “most states” having processes for changing your early vote. In fact, only a few states have such processes, and they can come with certain conditions. For instance, in Michigan, voters who vote absentee can ask for a new ballot by mail or in person until the day before the election.
The Center for Election Innovation’s David Becker told the Associated Press that changing one’s vote is “extremely rare.” Becker explained, “It’s hard enough to get people to vote once — it’s highly unlikely anybody will go through this process twice.”
At the time of publication, Trump’s false claims had drawn about 84,000 and 187,000 “Likes” on Twitter and Facebook, respectively. Trump’s posts accelerated searches about changing your vote in places like the swing state of Florida, where changing one’s vote after casting it is not possible. Those numbers are a reminder of the president’s capacity to spread misinformation quickly.
On Facebook, the president’s post came with a label directing people to Facebook’s Voting Information Center, but no fact-checking label. Twitter had no annotation on the president’s post. Neither company responded to a request for comment.
That Trump is willing to spread misinformation to benefit himself and his campaign isn’t a surprise. He does that a lot. Still, just days before a presidential election in which millions have already voted, this latest episode demonstrates that the president has no qualms about using false claims about voting to cause confusion and sow doubt in the electoral process.
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Nearly 6,000 civilian casualties in Afghanistan so far this year
From January to September, 5,939 civilians – 2,117 people killed and 3,822 wounded – were casualties of the fighting, the UN says.
Nearly 6,000 Afghan civilians were killed or wounded in the first nine months of the year as heavy fighting between government forces and Taliban fighters rages on despite efforts to find peace, the United Nations has said.
From January to September, there were 5,939 civilian casualties in the fighting – 2,117 people killed and 3,822 wounded, the UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) said in a quarterly report on Tuesday.
“High levels of violence continue with a devastating impact on civilians, with Afghanistan remaining among the deadliest places in the world to be a civilian,” the report said.
Civilian casualties were 30 percent lower than in the same period last year but UNAMA said violence has failed to slow since the beginning of talks between government negotiators and the Taliban that began in Qatar’s capital, Doha, last month.
The Taliban was responsible for 45 percent of civilian casualties while government troops caused 23 percent, it said. United States-led international forces were responsible for two percent.
Most of the remainder occurred in crossfire, or were caused by ISIL (ISIS) or “undetermined” anti-government or pro-government elements, according to the report.
Ground fighting caused the most casualties followed by suicide and roadside bomb attacks, targeted killings by the Taliban and air raids by Afghan troops, the UN mission said.
Fighting has sharply increased in several parts of the country in recent weeks as government negotiators and the Taliban have failed to make progress in the peace talks.
The Taliban has been fighting the Afghan government since it was toppled from power in a US-led invasion in 2001.
Washington blamed the then-Taliban rulers for harbouring al-Qaeda leaders, including Osama bin Laden. Al-Qaeda was accused of plotting the 9/11 attacks.
Calls for urgent reduction of violence
Meanwhile, the US envoy for Afghanistan, Zalmay Khalilzad, said on Tuesday that the level of violence in the country was still too high and the Kabul government and Taliban fighters must work harder towards forging a ceasefire at the Doha talks.
Khalilzad made the comments before heading to the Qatari capital to hold meetings with the two sides.
“I return to the region disappointed that despite commitments to lower violence, it has not happened. The window to achieve a political settlement will not stay open forever,” he said in a tweet.
There needs to be “an agreement on a reduction of violence leading to a permanent and comprehensive ceasefire”, added Khalilzad.
1/4 I return to the region disappointed that despite commitments to lower violence, it has not happened. The window to achieve a political settlement will not stay open forever. https://t.co/hVl4b032W6
— U.S. Special Representative Zalmay Khalilzad (@US4AfghanPeace) October 27, 2020
A deal in February between the US and the Taliban paved the way for foreign forces to leave Afghanistan by May 2021 in exchange for counterterrorism guarantees from the Taliban, which agreed to sit with the Afghan government to negotiate a permanent ceasefire and a power-sharing formula.
But progress at the intra-Afghan talks has been slow since their start in mid-September and diplomats and officials have warned that rising violence back home is sapping trust.
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