Sign up for our daily briefing

Make your busy days simpler with Axios AM/PM. Catch up on what's new and why it matters in just 5 minutes.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Denver news in your inbox

Catch up on the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Denver

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Des Moines news in your inbox

Catch up on the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Des Moines

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Minneapolis-St. Paul news in your inbox

Catch up on the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Twin Cities

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Tampa Bay news in your inbox

Catch up on the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Tampa Bay

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Charlotte news in your inbox

Catch up on the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Charlotte

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Mourners at the burial site of AFP Afghanistan Chief Photographer Shah Marai Faizi, who died in Monday's bombings. Photo: Andrew Quilty/AFP via Getty Images

Two suicide bombings in Afghanistan's capital, Kabul, on Monday morning killed at least 25 people, including journalists, police officers and emergency responders. The Islamic State has claimed responsibility.

Why it matters: Over the past year, Kabul has faced a surge of large-scale attacks, and Afghanistan’s National Unity Government has struggled to improve security throughout the country. Although President Ashraf Ghani has offered to enter peace negotiations with the Taliban, these bombings underscore that the Islamic State poses its own grave challenge to the country's stability, just as President Trump has reportedly called U.S. support into question.

Monday's attacks appear to have been designed to specifically target journalists and emergency personnel. At least nine journalists are confirmed dead, as well as at least four police officers. The blow to Afghan journalism is noteworthy, as the burgeoning independent media is now the country's second-most trusted institution (behind only religious leaders).

The attacks come before two milestones in Afghanistan’s democratic development: parliamentary elections, slated for October, and next spring's presidential election. They also follow another Islamic State–claimed attack last week at a voter registration center that killed at least 60 — an apparent effort to discredit the electoral process and sow ethnic violence.

What to watch: First, whether Afghanistan's deteriorating security will have a further chilling effect on the upcoming elections. Second, whether Trump’s new national security team will shift positions on Afghanistan. U.S. leadership has emphasized enduring American support for the Afghan government consistent with the administration’s new South Asia Strategy, but reports broke on Monday that Trump wants to “get the hell out of ” Afghanistan. The only certainty is that Afghan journalists will continue to risk their lives to report the news.

Frances Z. Brown is a fellow with the Carnegie Endowment’s Democracy and Rule of Law Program and a former director for democracy at the National Security Council.

Go deeper

45 mins ago - World

World leaders react to "new dawn in America" under Biden administration

President Biden reacts delivers his inaugural address on the West Front of the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday. Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images

World leaders have pledged to work with President Biden on issues including the COVID-19 pandemic and climate change, with many praising his move to begin the formal process for the U.S. to rejoin the Paris Climate Agreement.

The big picture: Several leaders noted the swift shift from former President Trump's "America First" policy to Biden's action to re-engage with the world and rebuild alliances.

Updated 4 hours ago - Politics & Policy

In photos: The Biden and Harris inauguration

President Biden and first lady Jill Biden watch a fireworks show on the National Mall from the Truman Balcony at the White House on Wednesday night. Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

President Biden signed his first executive orders into law from the Oval Office on Wednesday evening after walking in a brief inaugural parade to the White House with First Lady Jill Biden and members of their family. He was inaugurated with Vice President Kamala Harris at the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday morning.

Why it matters: Many of Biden's day one actions immediately reverse key Trump administration policies, including rejoining the Paris Agreement and the World Health Organization, launching a racial equity initiative and reversing the Muslim travel ban.

Republicans pledge to set aside differences and work with Biden

President Biden speaks to Sen. Mitch McConnell after being sworn in at the West Front of the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday. Photo: Erin Schaff-Pool/Getty Images

Several Republicans praised President Biden's calls for unity during his inaugural address on Wednesday and pledged to work together for the benefit of the American people.

Why it matters: The Democrats only have a slim majority in the Senate and Biden will likely need to work with the GOP to pass his legislative agenda.

You’ve caught up. Now what?

Sign up for Mike Allen’s daily Axios AM and PM newsletters to get smarter, faster on the news that matters.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!