The Afghan Taliban is waging an assassination campaign against government officials in Kandahar. Their hit-and-run fight marks bid to draw NATO forces into a war of attrition.
US soldiers in the Afghanistan war are battling to clear the 'heart of darkness' in Kandahar Province where Taliban chief Mullah Omar used to preach. It's one of many operations gearing up in southern Afghanistan as more foreign troops arrive.
To thwart militants in Afghanistan from planting roadside bombs, or IEDs, US soldiers are pleading with locals to alert them to threats. Air surveillance can be too imprecise and approval for airstrikes too slow in coming.
US forces in Afghanistan had begun to look like ATM machines as massive, poorly managed development projects bled money. Soldiers now oversee smaller ventures, even if it means personally counting pipes and demanding toilet flushers.