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An Afghan security member carries a newborn baby from a hospital, at the site of an attack in Kabul on May 12. Photo: STR/AFP via Getty Images

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani ordered his forces to resume their offensive against the Taliban on Tuesday in the wake of two deadly attacks that killed a total of 40 people, including two newborns, the Washington Post reports.

The big picture: President Trump's deal with the Taliban — which Pentagon leaders acknowledged would not bring peace to the country — was meant as a precursor to a peace process between Kabul and the Taliban. The Taliban, which has denied responsibility for the attacks, called Ghani's announcement a "declaration of war."

What happened: Sixteen people, including two newborns, were killed Tuesday in a Doctors Without Borders maternity ward in Afghanistan's capital, per the Post.

  • A suicide bomber killed 24 people on Tuesday at a funeral in the eastern Nangahar province, an attack for which the Islamic State claimed responsibility, the Post reports.
  • Parliament members and other government officials attended the event, which left 68 people wounded.
  • Though the Taliban has denied responsibility, Afghanistan's national security adviser claimed on Twitter that the group had "subcontracted their terror to other entities," adding there is "little point in continuing to engage Taliban in 'peace talks.'"

What they're saying: "During the holy month of Ramadan and amidst the threat of COVID-19, these dual attacks are particularly appalling. We note the Taliban have denied any responsibility and condemned both attacks as heinous," Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said in a statement on Tuesday.

  • "The Taliban and the Afghan government should cooperate to bring the perpetrators to justice. As long as there is no sustained reduction in violence and insufficient progress towards a negotiated political settlement, Afghanistan will remain vulnerable to terrorism," Pompeo said.

Go deeper: In Afghanistan, a deal but no peace

Go deeper

Jul 29, 2020 - Podcasts

Podcast: Trump never asked Putin about bounties

In an exclusive interview for "Axios on HBO," President Trump told Jonathan Swan he never confronted Vladimir Putin about intelligence indicating Russia paid the Taliban to kill U.S. troops. The full interview with President Trump will air on HBO on Monday August 3rd at 11pm.

Biden campaign calls Trump's failure to raise Russian bounties with Putin "despicable"

Photo: Mark Makela/Getty Images

Joe Biden's campaign on Wednesday said it was "absolutely despicable" that President Trump failed to confront Vladimir Putin with intelligence indicating Russia paid the Taliban to kill U.S. troops in Afghanistan.

Driving the news: The president told "Axios on HBO" that he never raised the issue with his Russian counterpart, despite speaking to Putin at least eight times since intelligence about the alleged bounties was reportedly included in the President's Daily Brief in late February.

Biden's Day 1 challenges: Systemic racism

Photo illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios. Photo: Kirsty O'Connor (PA Images)/Getty Images

Advocates are pushing President-elect Biden to tackle systemic racism with a Day 1 agenda that includes ending the detention of migrant children and expanding DACA, announcing a Justice Department investigation of rogue police departments and returning some public lands to Indigenous tribes.

Why it matters: Biden has said the fight against systemic racism will be one of the top goals of his presidency — but the expectations may be so high that he won't be able to meet them.