With the US continuing talks with the Taliban and failing to include the legitimate Afghan government, and other countries also battling to court the group, the reconciliation process is beginning to look like a game of economic geopolitics.
US commanders, including General John Nicholson, have claimed on several occasions over the past year that Russia may be supplying arms to the Taliban although no confirmed evidence has so far been made public.
Failing economy, growing insurgency and low returns from food crops have left tens of thousands of Afghan farmers with no other choice but to return to poppy cultivation after a gap of 13 years.
Middle-class Afghans-turned-militants have assisted Daesh's expansion from its stronghold in Afghanistan's restive east to Kabul, analysts say.
Jim Mattis met Pakistan's civilian and military leaders and urged them to "redouble" their efforts to rein in militants accused of using the country as a base to carry out attacks in neighbouring Afghanistan.
After months of lobbying, NATO countries have still not agreed how many extra troops they will send to Afghanistan to boost local forces in their fight against the resurgent Taliban.
US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson arrived at Bagram Air Base where he met Afghan President Ashraf Ghani and other senior officials to outline the Trump administration's new South Asia policy, says the US State Department.
President Donald Trump says the US will not repeat the mistakes of Iraq and leave a power vacuum. Focusing on Afghanistan and Pakistan to do more, Trump leaves out policy details, troop numbers and timelines from new strategy.
During a joint raid on April 27, US and Afghan troops killed Abdul Hasib, head of Daesh Khorasan. He was appointed last year after his predecessor died in a US drone strike.
A police spokesman for eastern Afghanistan says security forces had pulled out of Qala-i-Zal district, west of Kunduz city, to avoid further civilian and military casualties after more than 24 hours of heavy fighting.
Attackers used military uniforms and vehicles to pass three checkpoints before launching their attack, an Afghan army official said.
The Afghan Defence Ministry welcomes suggestions from the international forces commander in Afghanistan on the necessity of more troops to fight the growing Taliban-led insurgency.
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