A successful propaganda campaign has weakened public support for the Afghan government and its international backers, according to a new report from the International Crisis Group.
Militants took control of a strategic district outside Kandahar. Afghan and foreign troops flew to the city in response.
President Hamid Karzai threatened Sunday to send troops to Pakistan to fight militants themselves.
Taliban attacks are up, making this the worst season since the insurgency began and spurring greater Western troop deployments.