Atlantic Council: The COVID-19 pandemic is transforming international relations not just by straining relations among powerful states, but also by disrupting violent nonstate actors. Perhaps no major militant outfit has felt the impact as much as the Taliban. The group’s leader, Hibatullah Akhundzada, is either seriously ill with the virus or possibly dead. Sirajuddin Haqqani, the head of the powerful Haqqani Network and deputy leader of the Taliban, is also very ill with COVID-19. This has allowed Mohammad Yaqoob, the other deputy leader, to take operational control of the organization. The shift in the balance of power within the Taliban has the potential to upend Afghan security, India-Pakistan relations, and the US military withdrawal from Afghanistan. Haqqani is an ally of Pakistan and al-Qaeda, while Yaqoob favors the peace process with the United States and rapprochement with India. Click here to read more (external link).