(This is said to be the Taliban's most serious and complex set of attacks in six years. what did happen?) It started yesterday on a reconnaissance mission involving both French and Swiss troops and they got caught off guard by a strong insurgent attack. A gun battle started and then things turned ugly when about 100 Taliban troops took on the French, killing 10 and wounding another 20, certainly a dark day for France and NATO troops here. (The other attack involved many suicide bombers descending on an American base.) Yes, this base has been a hotbed of insurgent activity recently. Taliban soldiers tried to fight their way into the base, but they did not succeed. 10 Afghans were also killed at this base during the attack. (Do you know how capable the Afghan National Army was in responding to these suicide bombers?) They were somewhat successful in repelling the Taliban, they didn't need the help of the American forces in this latest case. But I don't think it's fair to say the Afghans are handling security on their own. (What about attacks closer to Kabul? Why is it that the Taliban is gaining strength so close to Kabul?) There is worry about a bigger push the Taliban is making to get closer to the capitol. (This is your third visit to Afghanistan, and how have things changed since your last visit?) It's pretty bad out there. I remember in my first trip when we were able to drive out with our local translator wherever we would want to go, and now that's unthinkable. I think the security situation is deteriorating.
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