Each October for more than half a century, the beloved Peanuts Halloween special It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown has risen out of the pumpkin patch of TV programming and aired for free on a broadcast network, making it accessible to almost everyone. But that probably won’t happen in 2020 — for the first time since the special debuted in 1966.
In a deal unexpectedly announced last week, AppleTV+ revealed that it has acquired the streaming rights to at least three of the classic Peanuts holiday specials, including Great Pumpkin. It’s still not entirely clear whether the streaming rights to these specials are exclusive to Apple indefinitely, but all signs point to that being the case.
Considering that AppleTV+ is the home to new Peanuts content — like the streaming series Snoopy in Space — this new deal comes as only a mild surprise. But it likely also means that Great Pumpkin, A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving, and A Charlie Brown Christmas will no longer air on ABC, their broadcast home since 2001. (The specials aired on CBS from 1966 to 2000.)
Perhaps sensing that lots and lots of people will be angry if these beloved specials disappear behind a paywall forever, AppleTV+ will make It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown available for free through the AppleTV+ app from October 30 through November 1 (as long as you download the app, you don’t even need to subscribe). Similar two-day windows will apply to the Thanksgiving and Christmas specials.
And as a big-time Peanuts fan who is an AppleTV+ subscriber (well, I have a press account), I should theoretically be just fine with this news. It’s great that I can watch these cherished specials on demand, without having to dig out my DVDs. But I feel a certain amount of sadness that these seemingly eternal holiday traditions are suddenly not as accessible as they used to be, because they probably won’t air on a major broadcast TV network. It’s just the latest example of the television world creating walled gardens that are, by definition, closed off to those who can’t pay to access them.
It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown will be free for two days. But AppleTV+ doesn’t have the same imperatives as ABC to keep it that way.
The big advantage of streaming television is that you can watch it whenever you want. In recent years, ABC has aired It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown twice each October, but if you didn’t catch it (or DVR it) one of those two times, you were out of luck until the next year, unless you purchased the DVD. (The special was frequently also available on certain on-demand platforms, but that availability varied by cable company and wasn’t accessible to anyone who watched TV via antenna, without a cable subscription.)
If you subscribe to AppleTV+ you can watch Great Pumpkin as many times as you want this Halloween without fear. Even if you don’t subscribe to AppleTV+, you’ll have the option to spend all of October 30 and 31 watching it over and over and over again, to your heart’s content, assuming you’ve downloaded the app somewhere.
This limited availability window sort of replicates the special’s seasonal availability on broadcast TV; a similar availability window will apply to the Thanksgiving and Christmas Peanuts specials as well (A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving, for instance, will debut on November 18 and stream through November 27 for AppleTV+ subscribers; from November 25 through the November 27, it will be free to stream for anyone who has the app).
But the big disadvantage to AppleTV+ having the rights to the Peanuts holiday specials is that the service is not under the same obligations as ABC is to keep them available to the public. ABC is, by definition, a broadcast network. If you are able to get a US TV signal — even for free, via an antenna — you will almost certainly be able to get ABC. That fact will always be true. Thus, as long as the Peanuts specials aired on ABC, nearly everybody in the US had access to them.
AppleTV+ can make no such promises about access to its content. Sure, the Peanuts holiday specials will be widely available for free for a limited time this year, and Apple will surely continue using this approach as a marketing tactic for at least a few more years, as it tries to convince consumers it has a streaming service they might want to sample. But there’s nothing stopping Apple from just deciding, whenever it wants, to stop offering a free distribution window. It could even reverse its decision this year, without much explanation or warning (that is unlikely to happen, but it could).
The future of entertainment is a future of artificially created scarcity
If you’re over age 30, you likely have experienced media consumption across your lifetime as a slow progression of availability. In your childhood, something like It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown only aired one or two times at Halloween, unless you taped it on VHS. But eventually, you were able to purchase a DVD or Blu-ray to watch whenever you wanted, or you could DVR the special when it aired and save it on your hard drive. This progression has created an expectation among many people, including me, that we’ll eventually reach a period where everything is available all of the time, at least if you’re willing to pay for it.
And at first, the streaming era seemed like it might actually make everything available all of the time. (This idea ignores that the vast majority of films and TV shows across history never actually made it to DVD, much less streaming, but stay with me here.) In recent years, if something wasn’t streaming on Netflix, Hulu, or Prime Video, you could usually rent it on Amazon or iTunes. And that’s still typically true, but it’s less and less true with every passing year.
Today, the value of exclusivity is such that it creates the impetus to put walls around popular programming, so that you can only see it if you subscribe to a certain streaming service. This impetus seems more and more likely to send us right back to an era where something like It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown is solely available to the vast majority of people for a small portion of October. Instead of scarcity created by a broadcast network having only so many time slots to fill on its schedule, scarcity is created artificially to boost subscription numbers and app downloads. It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown might just be a harbinger of what’s to come in that regard.
Yes, you can still buy the special on DVD or Blu-ray. But ownership of physical media players in the US has been plummeting in recent years, and it’s barely above 50 percent among the youngest adults in the country. As more and more people adopt streaming and digital media as their default, “buy the DVD” (or rent it from the library) increasingly won’t be an option. And even purchasing a digital copy of a film or TV show isn’t a sure thing, as your rights to those purchased copies can be revoked at any time and are subject to similarly confusing availability restrictions. (For instance, I just tried to buy Great Pumpkin on Amazon, but it’s not currently available there.)
And that’s before you get to the confusion that results from streaming rights bouncing among multiple services. For instance, earlier this year, the streaming rights for the Harry Potter movies were sold extremely briefly to HBO Max, which hosted the films exclusively from late May to mid-August. Then the films moved to NBCUniversal’s Peacock for a month (which began October 5).
After the movies leave Peacock, they’ll air on NBCUniversal cable networks for a while before they come back to Peacock at some point in 2021. If you’re a hardcore Harry Potter fan, maybe think about that, because I am obligated to remind you that J.K. Rowling has taken some monstrous positions on certain political and social issues. But also: Did the movies’ streaming service shuffle make you any more likely to subscribe to either HBO Max or Peacock? Or did it just bug you? I get paid to think about this stuff, and it sure confused and irritated me!
In contrast to buying a single copy of a DVD, which you can own for the rest of your life (or at least as long as it keeps working), digital rights mean that your favorite movie or TV show might not remain readily available to you unless you subscribe to a certain platform or jump through numerous hoops to find it. So far, this situation has been mostly tenable. But as more and more streaming platforms enter the game and the movies and TV shows in their catalogs become better and better known, the content landscape will only become more cluttered and confusing, especially when it comes to beloved programs that are only available briefly or seasonally.
In January, I asked Kevin Reilly, who was the chief content officer of HBO Max until early August (when he was ousted), about the service making some of its content available only for short periods of time — particularly with regard to the massive, WarnerMedia-owned Turner Classic Movies library. His answer was telling:
There’s nothing to prevent us from [putting the entire TCM library up]. We just don’t think that’s the best experience. We actually think it’s better to allow you breadth to go in there and wander around, but to kind of allow us to work it a little bit and serve it up again in a way that [is exciting].
I don’t know how true this is. Granted, the way I tend to approach media is that if I want to watch something, it will be something incredibly specific that I want to watch now. Certainly, Reilly is right that a lot of consumers are more likely to browse their streaming service of choice until they find something that looks interesting.
But that gets less and less true the further you step away from, say, 1940s screwball comedies and toward popular franchises and established classics like the Harry Potter films or the Peanuts holiday specials. There’s value in these properties, and that value only grows if they are available for limited windows of time, which might drive you to subscribe to a streaming platform you don’t already subscribe to, because it’s the only place you can see your favorite show or movie.
I understand this is the direction the industry is trending in. I understand why it’s monetarily advantageous for giant corporations. But part of what makes movies and TV so great is that they are mass media. That can mean junky programming targeting the lowest common denominator, but it can just as easily mean something as unusual and idiosyncratic as a super melancholy newspaper comic strip about a boy and his dog becoming one of the most popular creative properties in the entire world, and being available, year after year, to the actual masses who have access to broadcast TV.
Walled gardens of content are fine when it comes to corporate bottom lines, but I’m not convinced they serve viewers by enhancing the streaming “experience.” Instead, they create confusion about what is available where and when, and they cause unnecessary headaches when you maybe just want to relax and watch Linus wait for the Great Pumpkin. The sad fact of the matter: The movement toward said walled gardens is all but impossible to stop. There’s too much money in it, and since when have corporate bottom lines cared about what’s best for consumers?
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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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