Taliban Seeks to Destabilize Afghanistan's Capital

NATO faces intense fighting 30 miles from Kabul.

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U.S. Gen. David McKiernan, commander of NATO forces in Afghanistan, says that it is clear that the Taliban increasingly is trying to create instability in the capital. "I'm certainly concerned about security in Kabul," he says.

U.S. military officials have expressed mounting concern at the stepped-up activity and growing force of the Taliban and other militant groups in provinces around the capital.

Earlier this week, NATO forces were ambushed in Laghman province, about 30 miles outside Kabul, in an extended clash that left 10 elite French paratroopers dead. (There were conflicting accounts that some were killed by friendly fire).

On Thursday, NATO forces bombed militants on the border of Kabul and Laghman, killing more than 30, according to a U.S. military spokesperson.

The Taliban "had a strategy originally of isolating and seizing Kabul—and also all of Kandahar," says McKiernan. "They realize that those ambitions are unachievable—that's not going to happen."

But this realization, he adds, has led to stepped-up "asymmetrical, spectacular attacks" in the capital, including suicide attacks and roadside bombs.