The prevailing attitude among US soldiers is that while their remaining time on the ground may be limited, they have plenty of time to prepare Afghan forces to adequately replace them.
A Taliban suicide bomber on Friday killed the Kandahar police chief, who recently noted to the Monitor gains in creating a 'safe and secure environment' in the restive province.
Until the recent suicide attacks in Kabul, coalition officials were holding up the capital's relative peace as a sign of progress in their fight against the Taliban-led insurgency.
Locals who beat back a Taliban advance Saturday now say they fear Taliban retribution and potentially losing control of the area without Afghan government assistance.
The beheadings of six Afghan police have raised questions about the true loyalties of some Afghan forces during a crash program to recruit and train more locals in the Afghanistan war.
Some 3,000 people have been rescued since an Afghanistan avalanche shut down a key pass linking Kabul to the northern city of Mazar-e Sharif. The storied pass, which includes a series of tunnels and snow roofs, was built with Soviet help in the 1960s.
Locals trained by an NGO gather to scrutinize officials' books.
Insecurity and charges of fraud could hamper election officials' ability to ensure popular acceptance of next year's presidential poll results.