You don’t appreciate how indispensable your refrigerator is until it stops working.
When Slomique Hawrylo’s Kenmore fridge broke down in mid-August, she realized this is especially true during a pandemic. At first, Sears quoted her two-and-a-half weeks to deliver a replacement — already a long wait for a five-person household — a date the retailer pushed back once, then twice, then three times, until she was looking at sometime in October.
After an expensive experiment with dry ice, she bought a dorm-size mini-fridge to tide the family over. It wasn’t much help, though.
“I mean, once you put a gallon of milk in the refrigerator, that’s it,” she says. “So we found ourselves going to the store every day, we found ourselves eating out every day.”
Eventually, she gave up and canceled the order, finally tracking down one of the few available models at a local Lowe’s. “It was a humbling experience, to be honest with you,” she says.
It’s also a familiar one during the Covid-19 pandemic. Nearly seven months into the pandemic, people across the US are still finding themselves thwarted from purchases due to empty shelves or months-long back orders. While toilet paper may no longer be a scarce commodity, the supply of new bikes hasn’t yet caught up with the cycling boom, and dumbbells continue to see the kind of resale markups usually reserved for limited-edition Air Jordans. Now, as Americans get ready to hunker down for a projected next wave of the virus — or settle into masked and distanced school and work routines — they’re buying up a whole new range of products to prepare.
Retailers are struggling to keep up: Wayfair had sold out of nearly its entire selection of patio heaters by mid-September as people snatched them up for safer outdoor gatherings. School districts are facing shortages of Chromebooks, leaving tens of thousands of students without laptops for online learning. Big-box stores can’t keep enough furniture and appliances in stock to fill the homes where their customers are now spending so much time.
The disruptions are everywhere — and with the busiest shopping season of the year still ahead, experts say more delays are inevitable.
If it were merely an issue of quarantine fads and a shift from offline to online shopping, these problems might have a quicker fix. But behind every sold-out product, there’s a vast supply chain linking raw materials to factory floors to distribution centers, and the fallout from the pandemic is impacting them in ways we are still coming to understand.
Many of the shortages we see now are the direct result of decisions made six months ago, says Rafay Ishfaq, an associate professor of supply chain management at Auburn University. In April, retailers looked at the growing economic and human toll of the virus and adjusted their purchase orders accordingly. At a time of record unemployment, it was understandable to think Americans might be inclined to buy less.
“Imagine a big-box retailer saying, ‘Let’s hold off. Let’s see where things go, and then we will restart [the supply chain].’ That’s what’s happening,” he says. When retailers told their suppliers not to produce more, those companies told their suppliers not to produce more, setting off a chain reaction.
As lockdowns eased and people started shopping, however, there was no switch anyone could flip to ramp back up to a pre-pandemic pace.
“It takes time to gather that momentum and get this global supply chain or even the domestic supply chain going,” says Ishfaq. “For the producers to start making things, they need demand planners and merchants and the retail firms to tell them how much they need.”
While it may seem obvious from today’s vantage point that restrictions on indoor gatherings would lead to a run on outdoor heaters, that was hardly the case back in the spring. When Walmart placed its orders for fishing tackle earlier this year, it estimated that 25 million Americans would be fishing regularly. None of its forecasts predicted that number to jump to 35 million as lockdowns propelled interest in outdoor recreation.
Now, looking ahead, there’s no historical data to model whether people will still be scrambling to buy inkjet printers and chest freezers next April, or whether, by then, there will be a whole new “new normal.”
Plus, says Ishfaq, even if retailers could meet every spike in demand at a few weeks’ notice, it’s not necessarily worth it for them to do so.
“Every retail chain is focused on their big sales items: what they sell most, what they’re known for, what the customers come to the stores to buy,” he says. “If that means that the peripherals or seasonal items or secondary product categories run short, then so be it.”
This is especially true when manufacturers are dealing with supply chain issues of their own. Fans of Coke’s or Pepsi’s more esoteric soda flavors — Diet Mountain Dew Code Red, Cherry Vanilla Coke Zero — have found them out of stock for months as the companies prioritized their “high-volume” products.
Like other beer and soft drink makers, they’ve also had to contend with an aluminum can shortage — a consequence of consumers suddenly drinking at home en masse rather than at bars or restaurants, where most beer comes from a keg — as well as earlier disruptions in the supplies of artificial sweetener (imported from China) and carbon dioxide (produced as a byproduct of gasoline, for which demand plummeted this spring).
It’s not just beer and soda cans that are harder than usual to come by. Sales of canned food and home canning supplies have soared during the pandemic, and while the leading can manufacturer, Ball Corporation, has ramped up production at two US plants and begun construction on another, that extra capacity won’t come online until the latter half of 2021. Even that’s a better timeline than most: Paper towels are out of stock at many retailers, but “producers have no plans to build new manufacturing capacity,” reports the Wall Street Journal. “The central piece of the machinery needed to make paper towels takes years to assemble.”
Transportation bottlenecks are another culprit in the back order bonanza. Early on in the pandemic, US imports plummeted and shippers canceled planned voyages from countries like China, anticipating lower demand. As economic activity picked up and Americans tore through retailers’ inventory of standing desks and roller skates, freight couldn’t keep up: Ships were filled to capacity, leading to congestion and delays in ports.
Months later, importers are still struggling to find shipping containers to send certain goods, and when they can, it’s costing nearly three times as much to ship from East Asia to the US’s West Coast as it was pre-pandemic, according to the Freightos Baltic Index. Shipments are also less reliable, and those delays and costs get passed along to the consumer.
“Transportation has a limited capacity,” says Simone Peinkofer, an assistant professor of supply chain management at Michigan State University. “There are only that many containers that fit on a ship or number of products that fit on a truck, and thus, if there is not enough transportation capacity, then products will take longer to reach their destination.”
Stateside, the effects of Covid-19 have exacerbated a shortage of truck drivers, caused by the industry’s decades-long failure to increase drivers’ wages and benefits to reduce turnover. With workers retiring or changing careers in droves, companies aren’t able to recruit or license new drivers fast enough to meet increased demand.
Steven Melnyk, a professor of supply chain and operations management at Michigan State University, says we’ll be feeling the effects of many of these disruptions for months — and in some cases years — to come. One threat he expects will eventually trickle down to store shelves is supplier bankruptcies. In July, the International Monetary Fund warned that the bankruptcy rate for small- and medium-sized businesses could triple this year due to the pandemic, potentially destabilizing the supply chains they support.
“Many companies are just going to disappear,” says Melnyk. “Why? Because if they file for bankruptcy and then they decide to reconstitute themselves, they have a 25 percent reduction in their ability to secure a loan from a bank because they previously declared bankruptcy. So guess what they do? They just shut the door.”
These so-called “silent bankruptcies” are already underway: One amusement ride manufacturer told the Washington Post that many of its suppliers in China and South Korea have simply stopped returning messages.
In some industries, such as aerospace, suppliers may be highly specialized and therefore hard to replace when demand returns, says Melnyk. “When they go bankrupt, you don’t have a supplier. And it takes time for you to find an alternative and qualify them and develop them and vet them and integrate them.”
Even if the market for children’s rides seems unlikely to see a sudden surge in demand, those companies, in turn, support a network of other businesses that could crumble if orders dry up — subcontractors who make specific components, suppliers of raw materials and manufacturing equipment, transportation and logistics companies, and so on — making a quick rebound even harder.
In the shorter term, the holiday shopping rush is going to be a test of Americans’ patience. A recent Salesforce report found that as many as 700 million packages could face delays if online orders exceed shipping capacity by the expected 5 percent.
Shoppers could also see fewer bargains on Black Friday, says Melnyk. While retailers usually compete on price during the holidays, this year, “The issue is going to be availability. … You might see some discounts but they’re not going to be the crazy discounts we’ve seen in the past.”
For those who have their eye on fitness equipment, a new guitar, or a working refrigerator, the question may not be, “Where can I find this on sale?” but rather, “Can I find it at all?”
Millions turn to Vox each month to understand what’s happening in the news, from the coronavirus crisis to a racial reckoning to what is, quite possibly, the most consequential presidential election of our lifetimes. Our mission has never been more vital than it is in this moment: to empower you through understanding. But our distinctive brand of explanatory journalism takes resources. Even when the economy and the news advertising market recovers, your support will be a critical part of sustaining our resource-intensive work. If you have already contributed, thank you. If you haven’t, please consider helping everyone make sense of an increasingly chaotic world: Contribute today from as little as $3.
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.
Open Sourced is made possible by Omidyar Network. All Open Sourced content is editorially independent and produced by our journalists.
The United States is in the middle of one of the most consequential presidential elections of our lifetimes. It’s essential that all Americans are able to access clear, concise information on what the outcome of the election could mean for their lives, and the lives of their families and communities. That is our mission at Vox. But our distinctive brand of explanatory journalism takes resources. Even when the economy and the news advertising market recovers, your support will be a critical part of sustaining our resource-intensive work. If you have already contributed, thank you. If you haven’t, please consider helping everyone understand this presidential election: Contribute today from as little as $3.
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.
Too bright to breed
Toronto FC hoping to make MLS Cup run having spent much of 2020 far from home
Bettman: NHL is mulling temporary realignment
Astros bash way past Athletics to reach ALCS
Conquer Your Pup’s Dander and Fur With $700 Off a Cobalt or Charcoal Bobsweep PetHair Plus Robot Vacuum
Toronto FC hoping to make MLS Cup run having spent much of 2020 far from home
Sports2 months ago
Astros bash way past Athletics to reach ALCS
Tech3 weeks ago
Conquer Your Pup’s Dander and Fur With $700 Off a Cobalt or Charcoal Bobsweep PetHair Plus Robot Vacuum
Sports2 weeks ago
Toronto FC hoping to make MLS Cup run having spent much of 2020 far from home
Tech3 months ago
Check out some wonderful Playdate game demos, including a low-fi Doom
Food2 months ago
Puerto Rican Piñon
Tech4 months ago
Still no first stimulus check? How to track it and report your absent payment to the IRS – CNET
Tech4 months ago
Spotify Duo vs. Family vs. Individual: Which Premium Spotify plan is best? – CNET
Science3 months ago
Elon Musk promises demo of a working Neuralink device on Friday