An Afghan man wearing a protective face mask walks past a painted wall amid the coronavirus pandemic, in Kabul, Afghanistan [File: Mohammad Ismail/Reuters]

The coronavirus pandemic is swiftly rearranging global priorities. The contagion, which has killed more than 288,000 people globally, gave rise to some new rivalries, but it also forced old foes in several parts of the world to pause their conflicts. In March, responding to the United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres’s appeal for a global ceasefire, conflicting parties in Colombia, Sudan, Syria, Ukraine and Yemen have expressed their willingness to pause hostilities.

Like all global crises, COVID-19 also created challenges and opportunities for local and international stakeholders in Afghanistan. 

The Taliban and the Afghan government agreed to cooperate to stem the

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