Welcome back to Axios World.
- Tonight's edition (1,621 words, 6 minutes) starts in Afghanistan.
- Heads up: I'll be on vacation next week so World will be in the capable hands of my colleague Zach Basu.
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An Afghan soldier stands guard at a mosque in Kabul. Photo: Wakil Kohsar/AFP via Getty
As Afghan President Ashraf Ghani was making his way to Washington to meet with President Biden, the WSJ revealed that the U.S. intelligence community believes his government may be toppled within six months of America's withdrawal.
Why it matters: As the Taliban gains territory and the U.S. pulls its remaining forces out, hopes of a potential peace deal in Afghanistan are giving way to fears of a rapid Taliban capture of Kabul.
Driving the news: Ghani will arrive at the White House tomorrow seeking assurances that the U.S. will keep up its diplomatic push for a peace deal and financial support for the beleaguered Afghan military, says Michael Kugelman of the Wilson Center.
The big picture: When Biden announced that all U.S. forces would depart by Sept. 11, he never claimed to be leaving behind a stable Afghanistan. But now he has to contemplate a scenario akin to the fall of Saigon in 1975.
What to watch: Ghani arrived in Washington along with Abdullah Abdullah, his top political rival and also the government's representative for intra-Afghan peace talks.
Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios
Early in the pandemic, people in Canada, Japan, South Korea and several other countries surveyed by Pew tended to think the crisis was bringing their countries together.
By the numbers: There's an interesting split among the 17 wealthy countries surveyed in terms of their retrospective views on pandemic restrictions. Here's how it breaks down (most popular answer shown).
Worth noting: In nine of the 10 countries polled in both 2020 and 2021, approval of the national pandemic response has trended downward, most dramatically in Germany (88% approval in 2020 vs. 51% in 2021).
A Bosnian citizen gets vaccinated in Belgrade. Photo: Oliver Bunic/AFP via Getty
Residents of Bosnia and Herzegovina are desperate for vaccines, but a promise of help from Serbia has left them with a dilemma: receive a vaccine from a former enemy or wait months to get one at home, Axios fellow Teodora Trifonova writes.
Driving the news: Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic announced earlier this month that residents of Bosnia and Herzegovina would be able to receive free vaccinations in Serbia. Bosnia is otherwise relying on donations and the WHO-backed COVAX initiative. So far just 7.6% of the population has had even one dose.
The big picture: Around 100,000 people were killed during the Bosnian War (1992-1995). More than half those killed were Bosniaks, many of whom were victims of ethnic cleansing by Serb forces.
What they're saying: Dzeneta Saric says she was 10 years old when her father was “killed in captivity by Serbian soldiers."
The other side: Imran Bezdrob, who at 23 is too young to have experienced the war, compared getting vaccinated in Serbia to switching teams in a football match.
Screengrab via Apple Maps.
I'm visiting the world's most populous island (marked with a red pin), home to 148 million people. Can you name it?
Scroll to the bottom for the answer.
Just about every time the UN Human Rights Council convenes, countries sign dueling statements criticizing and defending China's mass detentions in Xinjiang, offering a fascinating gauge of where the world stands.
Driving the news: The critical bloc, led by Canada, grew this week to 45 countries from 39 last year and 22 in 2019 (among the new signatories were the Czech Republic, Israel and Ukraine).
1. Axios' Barak Ravid has an interesting report on how the Biden administration convinced Israel to break with recent policy and sign the statement criticizing China.
2. The Biden administration today banned imports of solar materials from a Chinese firm accused of using forced labor in Xinjiang, Axios' Yacob Reyes writes.
3. Organizations performing supply-chain audits in China to determine whether forced labor was used have faced harassment and even detention from Chinese authorities, Axios' Bethany Allen-Ebrahimian reports.
4. Tensions between the U.S. and China are complicating global scientific collaboration, Axios' Alison Snyder reports. Go deeper.
It has been 11 days since Benjamin Netanyahu was removed from office, but he's still clinging to the prime minister's residence and title, and stressing that he'll be back soon, Axios' Barak Ravid writes.
Why it matters: Netanyahu continues to claim Israel's new power-sharing government is the result of "fraud." Meanwhile, some Netanyahu allies continue to refer to him as prime minister.
In one meeting of Netanyahu’s right-wing bloc, Shas party leader Aryeh Deri accidentally referred to Netanyahu as “Mr. Prime Minister."
Behind the scenes: After Prime Minister Naftali Bennett was sworn in, he said he would give Netanyahu time to move out of the official residence on Balfour Street in Jerusalem.
Flashback: When his first term ended in 1999, it took Netanyahu six weeks to leave the official residence. When he was elected again in 2009, his predecessor Ehud Olmert cleared out after only four days.
Photo:De Agostini/Getty Images
What started as a rescue mission for Tasmanian devils has led to devastation for miniature penguins.
This "only in Australia" story from Axios' Ivana Saric begins with a sad fact: a transmissible facial cancer has been causing populations of the endangered Tasmanian devil to dwindle.
How it happened: 28 of the feisty marsupials were moved to a small island in hopes that they would flourish there. But the island was already home to thousands of small penguins.
Taking a swing on the Huser Plateau in Turkey. Photo: Ali Kemal Atik/Anadolu Agency via Getty
"There is no hunger in Tigray."— Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed to the BBC. The UN says there is a famine in the war-torn region.
Answer: I'm visiting Java, Indonesia.