If it's news from Afghanistan, it must be bad. Nine American soldiers died yesterday when the Taliban launched an attack on a remote military base in Kunar province, in Northeastern Afghanistan near the Pakistan border. The attackers were able to inflict such heavily casualties by apparently infiltrating the outpost. The attack is the deadliest on American troops since a transport helicopter was shot down in June 2005, killing sixteen soldiers.
A suicide bomber also attacked a police convoy in Uruzgan province on Sunday. Twenty-four were killed, mostly civilians, reflecting the increase in both number and lethality of suicide attacks.
Lastly, the NY Times reports on the successful efforts the Taliban are making to increase their capability of supporting themselves and their campaign in Afghanistan. As Pakistani forces have largely retreated from the western provinces bordering with Afghanistan, the Taliban have stepped in to seize control and sell or tax valuable resources for their own benefit.
The Bush administration, who are now apparently coming to realize how desperate things are in Afghanistan, are proposing to withdraw troops more quickly from Iraq than originally planned. It is hoped that some of these troops could be re-routed to Afghanistan, although it is difficult to say when those troops could be available for use in Afghanistan or whether the delicate situation in Iraq will hold long enough to permit such withdrawals.