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An Afghan soldier casts his ballot in Kabul, Afghanistan on Sept. 28, 2019. Photo: Paula Bronstein/Getty Images

Afghanistan's presidential election didn't see as much violence from the Taliban as some anticipated, but voter turnout was still shockingly low with fewer than 2.5 million showing up at the polls, reports the Washington Post.

Why it matters: The low turnout suggests that whoever wins the elections will "enter office with a weak mandate to lead the struggling democracy and possibly launch peace talks with the Taliban," per the Post. Polls show that current Afghan President Ashraf Ghani and his government’s chief executive, Abdullah Abdullah, are the main contenders, but official results aren't expected until Oct. 17, according to the Post.

The Taliban have been seeking to scare Afghans from voting in the election since talks with the U.S. fell apart earlier this month.

  • The group claims that they've carried out 300 attacks leading up to the elections, which they have denounced as a sham, per the Post.
  • There were only a handful of attacks on election day, with the deadliest one injuring 16 and killing 2 in the Nangahar province.

The bottom line: Monitoring groups "attributed the low numbers to fear of Taliban attack, concerns about fraud and skepticism that holding the election would help bring peace after 18 years of conflict," writes the Post.

Go deeper: Taliban attacks kill at least 48 in Afghanistan after U.S. peace talks fail

Go deeper

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U.S. surpasses 25 million COVID cases

A mass COVID-19 vaccination site at Dodger Stadium on Jan. 22 in Los Angeles, California. Photo: Mario Tama/Getty Images

The U.S has confirmed more than 25 million coronavirus cases, per Johns Hopkins data updated on Sunday.

The big picture: President Biden has said he expects the country's death toll to exceed 500,000 people by next month, as the rate of deaths due to the virus continues to escalate.

GOP implosion: Trump threats, payback

Spotted last week on a work van in Evansville, Ind. Photo: Sam Owens/The Evansville Courier & Press via Reuters

The GOP is getting torn apart by a spreading revolt against party leaders for failing to stand up for former President Trump and punish his critics.

Why it matters: Republican leaders suffered a nightmarish two months in Washington. Outside the nation’s capital, it's even worse.

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The limits of Biden's plan to cancel student debt

Data: New York Fed Consumer Credit Panel/Equifax; Chart: Axios Visuals

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Why it matters: Student debt is stopping millions of Americans from buying homes, buying cars and starting families. And the crisis is rapidly getting worse.