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Photo: Noorullah Shirzada/AFP/Getty Images

Local officials and area residents were still searching for bodies on Saturday following a bomb attack at a mosque in eastern Afghanistan the day prior that killed at least 69 people and left at least 36 more injured, reports Al Jazeera.

Why it matters: An uptick in violent attacks against civilians in Afghanistan has left 1,174 civilians dead between July and September, reports the Washington Post. The spike in violence emerged amid a tense election season in Afghanistan, and failed U.S.-Taliban peace talks in early September.

  • More civilians died or were injured in the 3-month stretch than in any other quarter over the last decade, according to a UN report released this week.
  • Friday's attack was the second-deadliest for the year, and comes just one day after the United Nations called the Afghan civilian casualties "unprecedented," notes Al Jazeera.

The latest: No group has claimed responsibility for the attack, but the government is accusing Taliban insurgents, per Al Jazeera. A spokesperson for the Taliban denies the group's culpability for the attack.

  • Taliban and Islamic State militants continue to operate in parts of Nangarhar, which sits along the border of Pakistan to the east, according to the Guardian.

Go deeper... Mark Esper: Trump ordered stepped-up military operations in Afghanistan

Go deeper

Ro Khanna wary of Biden approach on Middle East

Rep. Ro Khanna. Photo: Cody Glenn/Sportsfile for Web Summit via Getty Images

An outspoken progressive Democrat is wary of President Biden’s approach to the Middle East, arguing it’s like “conceding defeat of the aspiration” to win a Nobel Peace Prize.

Why it matters: A number of members of Biden’s own party dislike his Middle East strategy, as his administration signals the region is no longer the priority it was for President Obama and his predecessors.

Democrats eye reconciliation for immigration

Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Comprehensive immigration reform is a pipe dream, but some Senate Democrats are hoping to tie key immigration provisions to the next big reconciliation push.

Why it matters: Immigration is one of the most controversial and partisan issues in U.S. politics, which is why the budget reconciliation process — which allows for bills to pass the Senate with a simple majority rather than the usual 60 votes — is so attractive.

3 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Scoop: Biden meeting Quad amid own pivot toward Asia

Artists paint portraits of President Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris in Mumbai, India. Photo: Anshuman Poyrekar/Hindustan Times via Getty Images

President Biden plans to meet this month with the leaders of Japan, Australia and India in a virtual summit of the so-called Quad, according to people familiar with the matter.

Why it matters: By putting a Quad meeting on the president’s schedule, the White House is signaling the importance of partnerships and alliances to counter China’s growing influence in the Indo-Pacific region.

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