Taliban, NATO Prepare for Showdown

Violence in Afghanistan could soon go from bad to worse: In preparation for a summer showdown with NATO and Afghan forces, Taliban insurgents are stepping up their efforts in Kandahar, planting bombs and strategically planning new attacks. The city served as the Taliban’s operating hub when the Islamist group ruled Afghanistan; now, NATO is working to rid the city of insurgents while bolstering local government and attempting to thwart the Taliban’s return. The area’s Taliban commander, known pseudonymously as Mubeen, told the Associated Press that insurgents are persistent and prepared to wait out the occupation, if necessary: "We will just leave and come back after" foreign military pressure eases up, he said. Mubeen also claimed that many local Kandahar residents have the support of the Taliban. "Because of the American attitude to the people, they are sympathetic to us," he said. "Every day we are getting more support. We are not strangers. We are not foreigners. We are from the people."