First story takes us to Afghanistan, a nation in South Asia that's been racked by war for decades and whose future even now is unclear. U.S. President Donald Trump has called off peace talks with the Taliban. And to explain why that's significant, we're taking a look at the three major players — the Taliban, the United States and the Afghan government. First, the Taliban — it's an Islamic militant group that used to rule Afghanistan. After taking control in 1996, the Taliban established its strict interpretation of Islamic law in the country and allowed terrorist groups like Al-Qaida to live and operate there. The United States faced off with the Taliban in 2001. After Al-Qaida carried out the September 11th attacks on America, the U.S. demanded that the Taliban turn over Al-Qaida and its leader.
The Taliban refused and the U.S. led a group of countries to remove the Taliban from power. That happened quickly, but Afghanistan has remained unstable and thousands of American troops have been stationed there ever since though their number has increased and decreased over the years. Today there are about 14,000 American troops in Afghanistan. The country held its first democratic elections in 2004 and it's had a couple more since, but the Afghan government is fragile. The Taliban never went away and they've continued their violent attacks throughout the country, including one the killed an American soldier last Thursday.
Before that happened, the U.S. government was scheduled to hold secret peace negotiations with the Taliban — talks that some officials indicated could lead to U.S. troops leaving Afghanistan. After the bombing though, President Trump called off the meeting though both the U.S. and Afghan governments have left the door open for more negotiations. On the ground in Afghanistan, a CNN team was allowed to enter Taliban-controlled territory earlier this year. They found that the militant group hasn't changed much. The Taliban is still very strict and it still wants to be cut off from the rest of the world.