New top story from Time: 2 Dead After Shooting at North Dakota Air Base: Military Officials

(GRAND FORKS, N.D.) — A shooting early Monday has left two airmen dead at the Grand Forks Air Force Base in North Dakota, the military said.

The base’s emergency services members responded to the shooting, which occurred at 4:30 a.m., a statement from the military said. Officials said there is no risk to other personnel, and the shooting remains under investigation.

Additional details about the circumstances of the shooting weren’t immediately released.

The airmen are members of the 319th Reconnaissance Wing. Officials plan to withhold their names and units until 24 hours after family members are notified. Medical teams are providing disaster mental health services to help people who are affected, the base said.

Staff Sgt. Elijaih Tiggs said Monday morning that no further information is being released.

New top story from Time: There Were Limited COVID-19 Cases in the U.S. During Most of January, Says New CDC Report

In its latest Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, researchers at the U.S. Centers for Diseases Control (CDC) say that there were limited instances of COVID-19 in the U.S. during most of January, and that SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes the disease, didn’t start to spread widely until the end of the month and into February.

These findings suggest that an aggressive testing and detection program might have mitigated some of the spread of the SARS-CoV-2 and allowed public health officials to contain the infection more reliably. In a telebriefing with reporters, however, CDC director Dr. Robert Redfield said that the number of cases of COVID-19 until late January was so low, that finding them, even if testing had been more widespread, would be like “looking for a needle in a haystack.” Redfield says that existing systems for picking up respiratory diseases “really did have eyeballs on this outbreak.”

The U.S. government initially screened passengers arriving from infection hot spots in China in mid-January before stopping arrivals from the country altogether several weeks later. But COVID-19 tests developed by the CDC were also delayed because of early contamination issues, which meant that public health officials were behind in identifying those who were infected.

Dr. Jay Butler, the CDC’s deputy director for infectious diseases; head of the agency’s COVID-19 response; and a co-author of the recent paper, highlights four lines of evidence to support idea that COVID-19 was in the U.S. earlier than late January, but didn’t spread until then. First, he says, emergency room data from 14 counties across the country did not show an uptick in some of the hallmark symptoms of the disease, including fever, cough and difficulty breathing, until Feb. 28. Those data, part of the National Syndromic Surveillance Program, include 4,000 health care facilities in 47 states who report information on emergency room visits. The 14 counties the agency focused on included those that ended up having early community-based cases and likely were among the first regions to have spread of the disease.

Second, genetic sequences of the SARS-CoV-2 virus in the U.S. and elsewhere also suggest that the virus wasn’t spreading widely in the U.S. until the end of January. Based on the these sequences, which serve as a type of genetic fingerprint for tracing different strains and lineages of the virus, the researchers believe there was one virus lineage introduced from China in late January, when the first confirmed U.S. case was identified in Washington state; other cases identified in the area shared similar genetic signatures.

That conclusion is supported by another set of tests on specimens collected from nasal passages from people in the Seattle area, where the first U.S. case was identified. Those came from people who were participating in the Seattle Flu Study to monitor for flu prevalence, and provided samples from the nose and back of the throat which could be re-analyzed for SARS-CoV-2. More than 5,000 samples from this study collected from people with respiratory symptoms from Jan. 1 to Feb. 20 “showed no evidence of COVID-19 infection,” Butler says. “That doesn’t mean the virus wasn’t present anywhere in the community. It only means that if it was circulating, it was at such low levels that it could not be detected even when testing 5,000 specimens from people with respiratory illness.”

Third, the CDC team also looked at similar flu-surveillance data from five other site across the U.S. in that time period and found no specimens that tested positive for COVID-19.

Finally, Butler noted three early cases of COVID-19 among people who had not traveled to China or other areas where the disease was flourishing, which suggests they were exposed to the virus in their community. That, in turn, means it is likely that the virus was present in the U.S., although not widespread, in early January. Two people in Santa Clara County, Cal. died of a COVID-19 infection on Jan. 31 and between Feb. 13 and 17, respectively. Post-mortem analyses confirmed COVID-19 in both, and investigation of their infection and course of illness is ongoing. Given that the virus takes about five days to incubate and start causing symptoms, it’s likely that these people were infected several weeks before their deaths, before there were reports of clusters of cases.

Looking back at the how COVID-19 gained a foothold in the U.S. isn’t just academic, says Butler. “Understanding more about the dynamics of the spread in the community is an important part of planning how we go forward in controlling [this disease,]”

New top story from Time: George Floyd’s Family to Release Results of an Independent Autopsy

(MINNEAPOLIS) — The attorney for George Floyd’s family was set to announce findings Monday of an independent autopsy into his death a week ago after a Minneapolis officer held his knee on Floyd’s neck for several minutes.

Floyd, a black man who was in handcuffs at the time, died after the white officer ignored bystander shouts to get off him and Floyd’s cries that he couldn’t breathe. His death, captured on citizen video, sparked days of protests in Minneapolis that have spread to cities around America.

According to prosecutors, preliminary findings from an official autopsy last week said the combined effects of being restrained, potential intoxicants in Floyd’s system and his underlying health issues, including heart disease, likely contributed to his death. There were no other details about intoxicants, and toxicology results can take weeks. In the 911 call that drew police, the caller described the man suspected of paying with counterfeit money as “awfully drunk and he’s not in control of himself.”

The criminal complaint said the autopsy “revealed no physical findings that support a diagnosis of traumatic asphyxia or strangulation.”

Ben Crump, the attorney representing Floyd’s family, said last week that he was commissioning the family’s own autopsy.

The family’s autopsy was conducted by Michael Baden and Allecia Wilson. Baden is the former chief medical examiner of New York City, who was hired to do an autopsy for Eric Garner, a black man who died in 2014 after New York police placed him in a chokehold and he pleaded that he could not breathe.

The officer who held his knee on Floyd’s neck, Derek Chauvin, has been charged with third-degree murder and manslaughter and is in custody in a state prison. The other three officers on scene, like Chauvin, were fired the day after the incident but have not been charged.

Gov. Tim Walz announced Sunday that Attorney General Keith Ellison would take the lead in any prosecutions in Floyd’s death. Local civil rights activists have said Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman doesn’t have the trust of the black community. They have protested outside his house, and pressed him to charge the other three officers.

Freeman remains on the case.

New world news from Time: Hong Kong Blocks Annual Vigil Commemorating Tiananmen Square Crackdown

(HONG KONG) — Hong Kong police rejected an application Monday by organizers for an annual candlelight vigil marking the anniversary this week of the 1989 Tiananmen Square crackdown, as residents rushed to apply for passports that could allow them to move to the United Kingdom

It would be the first time in 30 years that the vigil, which draws a huge crowd to an outdoor space, is not held in Hong Kong. The vigil commemorates China’s deadly military crackdown on pro-democracy protesters in Beijing’s Tiananmen Square on June 4, 1989.

The decision follows a vote by China’s ceremonial parliament to bypass Hong Kong’s legislature and enact national security legislation for the semi-autonomous territory. Democracy activists and many legal experts worry that the law could curtail free speech and opposition political activities.

Throngs of people lined up on Monday at DHL courier outlets across the city, many to send documents to the U.K. to apply for or renew what is known as a British National (Overseas) passport.

“My BNO passport expired in 2004, but at the time I didn’t renew it because I trusted China,” said 40-year-old Peter Chan, who works in asset management and waited in line for more than two hours.

Chan said he was worried about political and security issues in Hong Kong stemming from the national security law as well as a push by the territory’s legislature to enact a bill that would make it illegal to insult the Chinese national anthem.

Even though there is rising anti-immigrant and anti-Asian sentiment in the U.K., “it’s still better than Hong Kong,” he said.

“In Hong Kong, you never know what will happen tomorrow,” Chan said.

The police, in a letter to organizers of the candlelight vigil, said it would violate coronavirus social distancing rules that ban gatherings of more than eight people.

Organizer Lee Cheuk-yan, chair of the Hong Kong Alliance in Support of Patriotic Democratic Movements of China, expressed disappointment and urged people to light candles individually and observe a moment of silence.

Amnesty International said authorities should facilitate a socially distanced vigil rather than ban it.

“COVID-19 must not be used as an excuse to stifle freedom of expression,” said Joshua Rosenzweig, the group’s deputy director for East and Southeast Asia. “With this ban, and a disastrous national security law looming, it is not clear if Hong Kong’s Tiananmen vigil will ever be allowed to take place again.”

Hong Kong has reported five local infections of the coronavirus in the last two days, breaking a nearly two-week streak of no new cases outside of those brought in from abroad.

The rush to apply for passports came after Britain said last week that it might allow holders of the document to stay in the country for a year or more. The proposal came after China’s legislature decided it would enact a national security law for Hong Kong.

The move is aimed at clamping down on a pro-democracy movement that has at times resulted in violent clashes between protesters and the police. Critics say the law erodes the “one country, two systems” framework that promised Hong Kong freedoms not found in mainland China for 50 years.

Protesters demonstrated against the security law at lunchtime Monday at a luxury shopping mall in the Central business district, shouting pro-democracy slogans.

The British National (Overseas) passport, which was issued to Hong Kongers when it was a British colony, allows them to visit the country for an extended period but falls short of offering them citizenship rights.

Currently, BNO passport holders can remain in the U.K. as visitors for six months without a visa. But Britain’s plan to allow them to stay in the U.K. for a longer period could include options that offer a path to citizenship, according to British Home Secretary Priti Patel.

In Hong Kong’s eastern district of Quarry Bay, Vanessa Tai was among more than 40 people who stood in line at a DHL service point, many holding envelopes with application documents.

Tai, 24, said the BNO passport is a Plan B for Hong Kongers who are worried about losing their freedoms as China strengthens its control over the city.

“If I had a choice, I’d rather work and live in Hong Kong. I hadn’t considered emigrating or working overseas before this,” she said. “Nowadays, my family and I are seeking an alternative, just in case.”

As of February, nearly 350,000 Hong Kong residents held BNO passports, although the U.K. government estimated that there are 2.9 million people in the city of 7.5 million who are eligible for the passport.

New top story from Time: Hong Kong Blocks Annual Vigil Commemorating Tiananmen Square Crackdown

(HONG KONG) — Hong Kong police rejected an application Monday by organizers for an annual candlelight vigil marking the anniversary this week of the 1989 Tiananmen Square crackdown, as residents rushed to apply for passports that could allow them to move to the United Kingdom

It would be the first time in 30 years that the vigil, which draws a huge crowd to an outdoor space, is not held in Hong Kong. The vigil commemorates China’s deadly military crackdown on pro-democracy protesters in Beijing’s Tiananmen Square on June 4, 1989.

The decision follows a vote by China’s ceremonial parliament to bypass Hong Kong’s legislature and enact national security legislation for the semi-autonomous territory. Democracy activists and many legal experts worry that the law could curtail free speech and opposition political activities.

Throngs of people lined up on Monday at DHL courier outlets across the city, many to send documents to the U.K. to apply for or renew what is known as a British National (Overseas) passport.

“My BNO passport expired in 2004, but at the time I didn’t renew it because I trusted China,” said 40-year-old Peter Chan, who works in asset management and waited in line for more than two hours.

Chan said he was worried about political and security issues in Hong Kong stemming from the national security law as well as a push by the territory’s legislature to enact a bill that would make it illegal to insult the Chinese national anthem.

Even though there is rising anti-immigrant and anti-Asian sentiment in the U.K., “it’s still better than Hong Kong,” he said.

“In Hong Kong, you never know what will happen tomorrow,” Chan said.

The police, in a letter to organizers of the candlelight vigil, said it would violate coronavirus social distancing rules that ban gatherings of more than eight people.

Organizer Lee Cheuk-yan, chair of the Hong Kong Alliance in Support of Patriotic Democratic Movements of China, expressed disappointment and urged people to light candles individually and observe a moment of silence.

Amnesty International said authorities should facilitate a socially distanced vigil rather than ban it.

“COVID-19 must not be used as an excuse to stifle freedom of expression,” said Joshua Rosenzweig, the group’s deputy director for East and Southeast Asia. “With this ban, and a disastrous national security law looming, it is not clear if Hong Kong’s Tiananmen vigil will ever be allowed to take place again.”

Hong Kong has reported five local infections of the coronavirus in the last two days, breaking a nearly two-week streak of no new cases outside of those brought in from abroad.

The rush to apply for passports came after Britain said last week that it might allow holders of the document to stay in the country for a year or more. The proposal came after China’s legislature decided it would enact a national security law for Hong Kong.

The move is aimed at clamping down on a pro-democracy movement that has at times resulted in violent clashes between protesters and the police. Critics say the law erodes the “one country, two systems” framework that promised Hong Kong freedoms not found in mainland China for 50 years.

Protesters demonstrated against the security law at lunchtime Monday at a luxury shopping mall in the Central business district, shouting pro-democracy slogans.

The British National (Overseas) passport, which was issued to Hong Kongers when it was a British colony, allows them to visit the country for an extended period but falls short of offering them citizenship rights.

Currently, BNO passport holders can remain in the U.K. as visitors for six months without a visa. But Britain’s plan to allow them to stay in the U.K. for a longer period could include options that offer a path to citizenship, according to British Home Secretary Priti Patel.

In Hong Kong’s eastern district of Quarry Bay, Vanessa Tai was among more than 40 people who stood in line at a DHL service point, many holding envelopes with application documents.

Tai, 24, said the BNO passport is a Plan B for Hong Kongers who are worried about losing their freedoms as China strengthens its control over the city.

“If I had a choice, I’d rather work and live in Hong Kong. I hadn’t considered emigrating or working overseas before this,” she said. “Nowadays, my family and I are seeking an alternative, just in case.”

As of February, nearly 350,000 Hong Kong residents held BNO passports, although the U.K. government estimated that there are 2.9 million people in the city of 7.5 million who are eligible for the passport.

New world news from Time: Defying Trump’s Landmark Peace Deal, Taliban Continues to Back Al-Qaeda in Afghanistan, UN Report Says

The U.S. went to war in Afghanistan with one goal in mind: ridding the country of the threat of al-Qaeda just weeks after the group killed nearly 3,000 people in the 9/11 terrorist attacks. Now, after nearly 20 years of fighting in which more than 3,500 American and coalition lives have been lost, President Donald Trump is pushing to withdraw U.S. forces on the back of a wobbly peace deal signed with the Taliban. But a U.N. report released on Monday shows the Islamist militant group has failed to fulfill one of the central tenets of the agreement – that it would break ties with al-Qaeda – undermining Trump’s biggest foreign policy win as he seeks re-election in November.


Al-Qaeda has 400 to 600 operatives active in 12 Afghan provinces and is running training camps in the east of the country, according to the report released Friday. U.N. experts, drawing their research from interviews with U.N. member states, including their intelligence and security services, plus think tanks and regional officials, say the Taliban has played a double game with the Trump Administration, consulting with al-Qaeda senior leaders throughout its 16 months of peace talks with U.S. officials and reassuring Al-Qaeda chief Ayman al-Zawahiri, among others, that the Taliban would honour their historical ties” to the terrorist group.

The U.N. report’s authors are pessimistic the Taliban will live up to its end of the peace deal, including pledges to carry out counterterrorism action against al-Qaeda and launch talks with Afghan leaders to reach a permanent ceasefire. “Early indications are that many, if not all, of these objectives will prove challenging,” says the annual report to the U.N. Security Council, published Monday by the UN Analytical Support and Sanctions Monitoring Team.

This is not what the Trump Administration promised the American public and U.S. lawmakers. The deal signed in Doha, Qatar, on Feb. 29, says the Taliban must “prevent the use of the soil of Afghanistan by any group or individual against the security of the United States and its allies.” Secretary of State Mike Pompeo went even further in March, insisting that “the Taliban have now made the break with al-Qaeda. “They’ve said they will not permit terror to be thrust upon anyone, including the United States, from Afghanistan,” he told CBS’s Face the Nation a day after the deal was signed, adding that the officials he met in Doha “agreed that they would break that relationship and that they would work alongside of us to destroy, deny resources to and have al-Qaeda depart from that place.”

The fact that none of that has taken place, and the Taliban has instead fostered its relationship with the group that plotted 9/11, according to U.N. experts, raises questions about whether the Administration rushed through a politically expedient deal that negotiators knew was doomed to fail. The U.S.Taliban agreement was supposed to be Trump’s triumphant delivery of an end to a nearly 19-year-conflict-turned-quagmire, that has in addition to the thousands of lives lost, cost U.S. taxpayers some $132 billion. Trump hailed the deal as a chance to “bring our people back home,” adding that “everyone is tired of war.”

Despite Trump’s assurances, the report’s findings echo concerns that U.S. military leaders have also aired. U.S. Central Command’s General Frank McKenzie gave a bleak assessment of the Taliban’s ability to follow through with the deal in testimony before the Senate Armed Services Committee in March. He was explicitly skeptical about the Taliban’s pledge to break with al-Qaeda. “That is something (the Taliban) are going to have to demonstrate that has not yet been demonstrated,” he said on March 13, roughly two weeks after the peace deal was signed. “We don’t need to trust them, we don’t need to like them, we don’t need to believe anything they say. We need to observe what they do.” Central Command declined to comment further, and the National Security Council and U.S. Forces Afghanistan did not respond to requests for comment.

A State Department spokesperson on Friday said the U.S. will “carefully monitor the Taliban’s progress on all of those metrics using all available information,” via a “robust monitoring and verification mechanism to judge Taliban compliance with their commitments.” The official also cast doubt on the UN report’s validity, saying that given Afghanistan’s security environment “it is our understanding the U.N. experts rely heavily on sources of information that may not provide a complete picture.” The official spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss the Trump Administration’s reaction to the report.

Taliban spokesman Suhail Shaheen also rejected U.N. report’s conclusions ahead of its publication, denying that the Taliban conferred at high levels with alQaeda, assured it cooperation and safe haven, or allowed the group to run training camps in the east of the country. “I totally refute this report; it is a baseless accusation aimed at spoiling the peace process. We are fully committed to the agreement and the obligations therein— not to allow anyone to use the soil of Afghanistan against any other country,” Shaheen said in a series of text messages from Doha exchanged with TIME on Friday.

The U.N.’s findings are not the first red flag that the much-lauded peace deal isn’t working. The deal lays out a phased withdrawal all of U.S. forces in return for the Taliban both ceasing fire on American troops and sitting down with Afghan leaders to discuss a future government. Those intra-Afghan talks have already been delayed over a dispute over a prisoner exchange between the Taliban and Afghan government, something the U.S. put in its agreement that Afghan officials say they never agreed to. Taliban attacks on Afghan forces have continued almost unabated.

Nevertheless, the U.S. military has quickened the pace of its troop withdrawal, now down from 13,000 troops in February to roughly 8,600 troops last week, months ahead of schedule, according to Reuters. That’s mostly because the U.S. military has sent personnel home to protect them from the coronavirus pandemic now gripping Afghanistan, but U.S. military leaders are planning to present options for a faster pullout to Trump within the next week or so, according to two sources who spoke on condition of anonymity to describe the upcoming meeting. One of those options includes a total drawdown of U.S. forces ahead of the American presidential poll in November, according to The New York Times.

A precipitous U.S. withdrawal could leave Afghanistan headed for a return to the status quo of the years prior to 9/11, when al-Qaeda plotted the 2001 attacks in the country’s mountainous northeast. The U.N. report says the Taliban remains focused on returning Afghanistan to a harsh form of Islamic rule, and is employing tactics to delay intra-Afghan talks to get the maximum number of U.S. troops to withdraw, which would give them more power to threaten the Afghan government, the study authors say. The Taliban have already begun accusing the United States of bad faith when it provides close air support to Afghan Forces while under Taliban attack.

They found that “relations between the Taliban, especially the Haqqani Network and al-Qaeda remain close, based on friendship, a history of shared struggle, ideological sympathy and intermarriage,” and that the Taliban offered al-Qaeda continuing safe have in its territory, just as it did before 9/11.

Bin Laden was not a threat to the United States’

In the 1990s, al-Qaeda pledged bayat, or fealty, to Taliban leader Mullah Omar, declaring him the “Emir of the Faithful,” and the Taliban had in return offered the group safe haven, according to West Point’s Combating Terrorism Center. According to the 9/11 Report, when U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Bill Richardson led a delegation to meet the Taliban in Kabul in April 1998, they told him they didn’t know where al-Qaeda founder Osama Bin Laden was, and that in any case, “Bin Laden was not a threat to the United States” — a refrain similar to the one the Taliban is employing with U.S. officials now.

Today, Ayman al-Zawahiri, the current head of al-Qaeda, has again pledged bayat to Taliban chief Haibatullah Akhundzada, according to Thomas Joscelyn of the Foundation for Defense of Democracies’ Long War Journal. Akhundzada hasn’t publicly accepted that pledge, Joscelyn adds, thereby tacitly granting legitimacy to al-Qaeda’s goal to establish global rule, based on an extremist militant interpretation of Islam. For the U.S.-Taliban deal to stick, Akhundzada will have to “publicly renounce al-Qaeda’s pledge of allegiance,” and thereby remove the Taliban’s imprimatur on that bloody worldwide campaign. “So far, (Akhundzada) hasn’t done that,” Joscelyn says.

Taliban spokesman Shaheen insists that Akhunzada’s lack of public acknowledgement of the pledge is enough to show the Taliban is breaking with al-Qaeda. “Neither our current leader nor our former leader has accepted their allegiance. It is enough and it is a clear proof of our commitment to what we are saying.” Shaheen dismissed the fact that screenshots from the Taliban’s own Voice of Jihad media outlet issued a statement of acceptance of al-Zawahiri’s pledge in 2015.

The head of the Haqqani Network, another militant group that has staged deadly attacks on U.S. and coalition troops, is the Taliban’s deputy, Sirajuddin Haqqani. He dismissed any “concerns about the potential of Afghanistan being used by disruptive groups to threaten regional and world security,” as “inflatedin a New York Times’ opinion piece published days before the U.S.-Taliban deal was signed.It is not in the interest of any Afghan to allow such groups to hijack our country and turn it into a battleground….We will take all measures in partnership with other Afghans to make sure the new Afghanistan is a bastion of stability and that nobody feels threatened on our soil.”

Despite these public assurances from Taliban leadership, the U.N. report says the Taliban continues its hardline messaging to its base, promising the return of an Islamic Emirate. It has stepped up attacks on Afghan forces and prepared for more, while carefully avoiding attacks on U.S. forces, the report says, which could scupper the peace agreement and keep U.S troops in the country longer. The group remains “internally disciplined enough to be a formidable fighting force” while divided enough to make compromise difficult, with a “significant constituency” of the group that still believes “that they can and will still achieve their aims by force,” the report says.

Toward that end, al-Qaeda and the Taliban held meetings over the course of 2019 and in early 2020 to discuss cooperation related to operational planning, training and the provision by the Taliban of safe havens for al-Qaeda members inside Afghanistan,” the report says. The Taliban and al-Qaeda even discussed forming “a joint unit of 2,000 armed fighters in cooperation with and funded by al-Qaeda” that would patrol key areas of the country in the future, it says.

At one of meetings between the Taliban and al-Qaeda in early 2019, Taliban leaders personally reassured Hamza Usama Muhammad bin Laden, Bin Laden’s son, that the Islamic Emirate would not break its historical ties with al-Qaeda for any price.” (In September 2019, the White House stated Hamza bin Laden had been killed in a “U.S. counterterrorism operation,” but released no date for his demise.) Al-Qaeda’s current leader al-Zawahiri met with members of the Haqqani Network in February 2020, to consult with him “over the agreement with the United States and the peace process,” the report says.

Joscelyn says al-Qaeda remains a threat to the United States, and the Taliban’s loyalty to it extends to the group’s other branches, including Yemen’s al-Qaeda of the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), which the FBI and Justice Department recently revealed were behind the deadly attack on U.S. servicemen at Pensacola Air Station in Florida on Dec. 6. The FBI said AQAP had been in constant contact with the Saudi Air Force officer Mohammed Alshamrani, who shot and killed three people at the base where he was training. FBI Director Christopher Wray told reporters on May 18 that Alshamrani, “wasn’t just coordinating with (AQAP) about planning and tactics—he was helping the organization make the most it could out of his murders. And he continued to confer with his AQAP associates right until the end, the very night before he started shooting.”

Joscelyn says the Taliban lauded AQAP in a 2016 video, and venerates its current leader Khalid Batarfi, who was trained by al-Qaeda in Afghanistan. “The Taliban incubated a generation of Jihadis, and there’s no evidence they’ve renounced that,” he says.

If the U.S. is successful in getting the Taliban to honor its pledge to split from al-Qaeda, that could cause a schism between its pro- and anti- al-Qaeda camps, the report says. The U.N. monitoring group has tracked the creation of a new rebel Taliban party of senior dissident members mainly residing outside Afghanistan, who refuse to make peace with the U.S., called the Hizb-i Vilayet Islami, or “Islamic Governorate Party.” A senior Afghan official told TIME that Afghan security services had tracked the formation of the offshoot group that pledged to “continue fighting as the Taliban join peace” talks, and confirmed that in their estimation, in many parts of the country, al-Qaeda and the Taliban “are inseparable.” The official spoke anonymously to discuss the sensitive security matter.

While the report’s data was only gathered through mid-March, there has been no discernable change since then in the close cooperation between the Taliban and al-Qaeda, says a senior western official familiar with the matter, speaking anonymously to share confidential assessments. Another sign of the Taliban’s unwillingness to temper most other militant groups’ activity other than its own enemy, ISIS-Khorasan is its failure to help the Trump Administration find two Americans still missing in the country. Navy veteran Mark Frerichs was kidnapped by elements of the Haqqani Network in Afghanistan on Jan. 31 and Paul Overby was presumed to have been kidnapped in 2014.

“The fact that they have continued to deny involvement or knowledge of the Frerichs case is another knock on their credibility as a counterterrorism partner,” a senior Administration official tells TIME, speaking anonymously to discuss the Trump Administration’s private frustrations with the Taliban.

Longtime advisors and observers of the U.S. military effort in Afghanistan say the Taliban has done nothing to show it can be trusted to protect U.S. security after U.S. troops have departed. “A drawdown of U.S. troops below the threshold of 8,600 puts at risk the counterterrorism operations under way in Afghanistan that keep Americans safe from Al Qaeda and its external attack plots,” says Kim Kagan, founder and president of the Institute for the Study of War.

Without a U.S. counterterrorism platform in Afghanistan, the U.S. won’t just be unable to pursue terrorist targets in that country, it will risk its monitoring of South Asia, adds Frederick Kagan, of the American Enterprise Institute, who fears President Trump is intent on a 100% drawdown of all U.S. forces possibly before the election. Unlike Yemen, Libya and other countries where the U.S. is able to strike from afar, Afghanistan is landlocked.

“We won’t be able to thump al-Qaeda after we’ve left because we won’t be able to get there,” says Kagan. “They will not be able to conduct those kind of operations from boats 600 to 700 miles away….If and when we pull out of it completely, our counterterrorism operations in South Asia will end.”

New top story from Time: One Man Shot Dead As Police and National Guard Open Fire During Louisville Protests

One man was shot dead when police and the National Guard opened fired towards a crowd of people during protests in Louisville, Kentucky early Monday morning, officials said later the same day.

The Louisville Metro Police Department (LMPD) Chief Steve Conrad said in a news briefing on Monday that after another night of protests over the fatal police shooting of Breonna Taylor in Louisville in March and the death of George Floyd in Minnesota in May, the Kentucky National Guard and LMPD were dispatched to a parking lot at Dino’s Food Mart at 12.15am to break up a large crowd that had gathered there.

As officers and soldiers began trying to disperse the group, someone in the crowd fired at members of the agencies, Conrad said. Both the LMPD and National Guard fired back, he said. One man, who Conrad did not identify, died at the scene. Conrad added that several persons of interest are being interviewed and video footage is being collected.

“I think it’s very, very clear that many people do not trust the police. That is an issue that we’re going to have to work on and work through for a long time,” the police chief said.

Hundreds of protesters have been chanting “no justice, no peace” as they demand for police accountability in the killing of the 26-year-old Emergency Room technician Taylor on March 13, when officers broke down her door to serve a search warrant as part of a drug investigation. Her boyfriend fired at police believing they were armed intruders. Taylor, who was unarmed, died after being shot at least eight times when police returned fire.

Monday’s shooting came after another outbreak of violence during protests on Thursday, when seven people were shot as someone opened fire from within a crowd, according to police. Two were taken for surgery and five were in good condition, Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer said Friday morning. No one has been arrested yet in that incident.

A day later, on May 29, Taylor’s family released a message on Twitter urging protestors to remain peaceful. The woman said, “We are not going to stop until we get justice. But we should stop tonight before people get hurt. Please go home, be safe, and be ready to keep fighting.”