US policymakers will watch Afghanistan's ability to maintain stability in Laghman Province as a litmus test for its forces' capabilities in the rest of the country.
Gen. David Petraeus is giving up command of the Afghanistan war to take charge of the CIA. Announcement of the shift comes during a bad week for NATO in Afghanistan.
An attack in Kabul on Monday suggests that the Taliban have shifted from direct engagements with NATO and Afghan forces in favor of being able to infiltrate secure compounds and carry out suicide attacks.
Ahead of Saturday's Afghanistan election, the Taliban has been blamed for most of the violence directed at candidates. However, some of it stems from intercandidate rivalries.