Afghan President Ashraf Ghani and U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. Photo: Wakil Kohsar /AFP/Getty Images

The Trump administration is considering pressuring the Afghan government to postpone next year's presidential election as it seeks a peace deal with the Taliban to end the 17-year war, reports the Wall Street Journal, citing people briefed on the talks.

Why it matters: Some officials in Washington fear that voting irregularities and violence that routinely occur in Afghan elections could undermine or destroy the prospect of a peace deal. But this request “would be a contentious move that runs counter to the long-held U.S. objective of promoting democracy in Afghanistan," and it could potentially create friction between both countries, the WSJ writes. President Ashraf Ghani has already come out against such a proposal.

The details: Kabul would need financial and military support from the U.S. if the election were delayed, but Afghan leaders are reportedly skeptical of American influence.

  • Ghani, who’s expected to run for a second five-year term, recently said the April 20 vote will proceed as scheduled.
  • Ghani’s spokesman told the WSJ: “Continuity in a democratic process is a must, and any other proposal than the will of Afghans, which is outlined in our constitution, is simply not acceptable.”

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A satellite image of Hurricane Zeta. Photo: National Hurricane Center/NOAA

Hurricane Zeta has killed at least one person after a 55-year-old man was "electrocuted by a downed power line" in Louisiana as the storm caused widespread power outages Wednesday night, per AP.

What's happening: Zeta made landfall south of New Orleans as a Category 2 hurricane earlier Wednesday before weakening to Category 1. But it was still "battering southeastern Louisiana and southern Mississippi with life-threatening storm surge, high winds, and heavy rain" late Wednesday, per the National Hurricane Center.

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NIAID director Anthony Fauci told the Journal of the American Medical Association on Wednesday he doesn't expect a COVID-19 vaccine to be ready until January 2021 or later.

What he's saying: Fauci said during the interview that the U.S. was in a "bad position" after failing to keep case numbers down post-summer. "We should have been way down in baseline and daily cases and we’re not," he said.