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Afghan security forces near the site of a Taliban attack in Ghazni in April 2018. Photo: Akeria Hashimi/AFP/Getty Images

The U.S. military has ended its long-running assessments of how much territory in Afghanistan is controlled by the Taliban, the latest move to limit the information the American public has about the 17-year-old war, per the NY Times.

Why it matters: John Sopko, the U.S. inspector general for Afghanistan reconstruction, told the Times the move was "like turning off the scoreboard at a football game and saying scoring a touchdown or field goal isn't important." He added that it will ensure "the only people who don't know what's going on and how good or bad a job we're doing are the people paying for it — the American taxpayers."

On the one hand: A U.S. military spokesman, Col. Dave Butler, told the Times the assessments were "subjective" and "did little to serve our mission of protecting our citizens and allies."

On the other: Bill Roggio, an expert at the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies, told the Times that the assessments "highlight failure": "Make no mistake, if these assessments showed the Afghan military retaking lost ground, the U.S. military would continue to publish the information."

What to watch: A new round of talks between the U.S. and the Taliban began today in Qatar. They're aimed at securing a peace agreement, but have been criticized by Afghan officials who are wary of being left out of negotiations over the country's future.

Go deeper: 17 years later, Americans tend to consider Afghanistan a failure.

Go deeper

Ben Geman, author of Generate
5 mins ago - Energy & Environment

Report: John Kerry plans to visit China ahead of Biden's climate summit

John Kerry. Photo: Zach Gibson / Stringer

John Kerry, President Biden's special climate envoy, is expected to travel to China next week for meetings with officials aimed at boosting collaboration, the Washington Post reported Saturday.

Why it matters: China is the world's largest carbon dioxide emitter and the U.S. is second-largest.

Updated 2 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

  1. Health: Coronavirus cases hold steady at 65,000 per day — CDC declares racism "a serious public health threat" — WHO official: Brazil is dealing with "raging inferno" of a COVID outbreak
  2. Vaccines: America may be close to hitting a vaccine wall — Pfizer asks FDA to expand COVID vaccine authorization to adolescents — CDC says Johnson & Johnson vaccine supply will drop 80% next week.
  3. Economy: Treasury says over 156 million stimulus payments sent out since March — More government spending expected as IMF projects 6% global GDP growth.
  4. Politics: Supreme Court ends California's coronavirus restrictions on home religious meetings
  5. Variant tracker: Where different strains are spreading.

Second senior Matt Gaetz aide resigns amid federal investigation

Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.) walking out of the Capitol in January 2021. Photo: Stefani Reynolds/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Devin Murphy, Rep. Matt Gaetz's legislative director, has stepped down amid a federal investigation into sex trafficking allegations against the Florida Republican congressman, the New York Times first reported and Axios has confirmed.

The latest: "It's been real," Murphy wrote in an email, obtained by Axios, to Republican legislative directors on Saturday morning, with the subject line: "Well...bye."