Afghan security officials inspect the scene after an overnight suicide bomb blast that targeted a wedding reception in Kabul. Photo: Haroon Sabawoon/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

The official government line in Afghanistan is that the Islamic State has been defeated — but local leaders tell a different story, the Washington Post reports.

The state of play: Talks between the U.S. and the Taliban on removing U.S. troops from Afghanistan have been ongoing for months, while the Islamic State's growing threat has not been addressed.

  • "Islamic State forces continue to terrorize villagers in areas under their control, forcibly recruiting boys and banning girls from school," per the Post.
  • Leaders "fear that some Taliban fighters will join the more ruthless Islamic State forces if Taliban leaders make a deal with U.S. officials."

By the numbers: The group is estimated to number between 2,500 and 5,000 fighters in Afghanistan, according to estimates from the U.S. military and the UN.

  • But government officials stress its Afghan branch has been reduced to attacking "soft" targets — like the suicide bombing at a Kabul wedding party that killed 63 people and wounded 182 others last week — rather than claiming territory like it did in Iraq and Syria.

Go deeper: Tom Cotton says he shares Trump's Afghanistan frustration

Go deeper

Parties trade election influence accusations at Big Tech hearing

Photo: Michael Reynolds/Pool/AFP via Getty Images

A Senate hearing Wednesday with Big Tech CEOs became the backdrop for Democrats and Republicans to swap accusations of inappropriate electioneering.

Why it matters: Once staid tech policy debates are quickly becoming a major focal point of American culture and political wars, as both parties fret about the impact of massive social networks being the new public square.

1 hour ago - World

Germany goes back into lockdown

Photo: Fabrizio Bensch/Pool/AFP via Getty Images

German Chancellor Angela Merkel will enact one of Europe's strictest coronavirus lockdowns since spring, closing bars and restaurants nationwide for most of November, Reuters reports.

Why it matters: Germany is the latest European country to reimpose some form of lockdown measures amid a surge in cases across the continent.

How overhyping became an election meddling tool

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

As online platforms and intelligence officials get more sophisticated about detecting and stamping out election meddling campaigns, bad actors are increasingly seeing the appeal of instead exaggerating their own interference capabilities to shake Americans' confidence in democracy.

Why it matters: It doesn't take a sophisticated operation to sow seeds of doubt in an already fractious and factionalized U.S. Russia proved that in 2016, and fresh schemes aimed at the 2020 election may already be proving it anew.

Get Axios AM in your inbox

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

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!