U.S. soldiers walk at the site of a Taliban suicide attack in Kandahar. Photo: Javed Tanveer/AFP/Getty Images

An American Special Forces soldier in eastern Afghanistan was killed in action on Monday, bringing the total U.S. service members to die during combat operations to 17 this year, the New York Times reports.

The big picture: The death comes one week after the Trump administration called off peace talks with the Taliban after a bombing in Kabul killed a U.S. soldier. The Afghanistan war is America's longest, with almost 18 years having passed since Operation Enduring Freedom began. The White House had wanted to begin withdrawing troops from Afghanistan in 2020, but the plans have since stalled amid uncertainty over the future of peace talks.

Go deeper: House panel subpoenas U.S. Afghanistan envoy in probe of failed peace talks

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Updated 58 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Supreme Court clears way for first federal execution since 2003

Lethal injection facility in San Quentin, California. Photo: California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation via Getty Images

The Supreme Court ruled early Tuesday that federal executions can resume, reversing a lower court decision and paving the way for the first lethal injection since 2003 to take place at a federal prison in Indiana, AP reports.

The big picture: A lower court had delayed the execution, saying inmates had provided evidence the government's plan to carry out executions using lethal injections "poses an unconstitutionally significant risk of serious pain."

2 hours ago - Health

More Republicans say they're wearing masks

Data: Axios/Ipsos poll; Chart: Andrew Witherspoon/Axios

Nearly two-thirds of Americans — and a noticeably increasing number of Republicans — say they’re wearing a face mask whenever they leave the house, according to the latest installment of the Axios-Ipsos Coronavirus Index.

Why it matters: A weakening partisan divide over masks, and a broad-based increase in the number of people wearing them, would be a welcome development as most of the country tries to beat back a rapidly growing outbreak.

Buildings are getting tested for coronavirus, too

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

Testing buildings — not just people — could be an important way to stop the spread of the coronavirus.

Why it matters: People won't feel safe returning to schools, offices, bars and restaurants unless they can be assured they won't be infected by coronavirus particles lingering in the air — or being pumped through the buildings' air ducts. One day, even office furniture lined with plants could be used to clean air in cubicles.