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An American soldier in Afghanistan. Photo: Noorullah Shirzada/AFP/Getty Images

Two U.S. service members died in northern Afghanistan on Friday during a joint operation with Afghan forces.

Why it matters: Four American soldiers have died in Afghanistan so far in 2019, and 14 died in 2018 according to iCasualties. President Trump ordered the Pentagon last year to withdraw half of the 14,000 U.S. troops currently in Afghanistan, but his State of the Union address in February tied troop withdrawals to an ongoing peace process and gave no clear timeline to move forward, per the Washington Post.

Go deeper ... Inside the room: Trump losing patience with Afghanistan war

Go deeper

Republican Sen. Roy Blunt will not seek re-election in 2022

Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images

Sen. Roy Blunt (R-Mo.) will not run for re-election in 2022, he announced on Twitter Monday.

Why it matters: The 71-year-old senator is the No. 4-ranking Republican in the Senate, and the fifth GOP senator to announce he will not run for re-election in 2022 as the party faces questions about its post-Trump future.

31 mins ago - Health

Popular independent COVID tracker officially ends daily updates

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

The COVID Tracking Project, a volunteer group of data analysts, researchers, and journalists brought together by The Atlantic, published its final daily update on Monday — the one-year anniversary of its founding.

Why it matters: The project quickly became a vital resource for news media, academic researchers, and everyday Americans to track COVID-19 cases, hospitalizations, and deaths in the absence of reliable and public data from the federal government.

Ben Geman, author of Generate
2 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Energy and climate move closer to center stage on Capitol Hill

Illustration: Rebecca Zisser/Axios

The imminent enactment of Democrats' $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief package creates space for lawmakers and the White House to craft infrastructure plans with big climate and energy-related provisions.

Why it matters: President Biden, during the campaign, vowed to make low-carbon energy, climate-resilient infrastructure and transportation projects a big focus of an economic recovery package. And the Texas power crisis could give fresh momentum to investments in grid modernization.

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