During the Summer, as operations to shut down drug production and smuggling operations peaked, there were several weeks when there were about a thousand incidents. Most of these were defeats for the gangs (bombs discovered or ambushes that went wrong, as most of them do for the Afghans). The drug gangs are depending on time (and NATO patience) and bribes (to keep Afghan forces at bay) to help them survive. The violence is expected to be higher this year, as the drug gangs have nothing to lose by fighting on to preserve their lucrative drug operations.
The locals enjoy seeing the bad boys take a beating, and NATO troops have learned to exploit this by offering goodies (schools, including building, books and furnishings, are a favorite) in return for cooperation. As the old saying goes, “all politics is local,” and the troops take advantage of this. The gangsters and Taliban keep saying that the foreigners will tire of Afghanistan and leave in a few years, but the locals figure that getting aid from the foreign troops in the meantime isn’t a bad deal. Life is short in Afghanistan anyway (one of the lowest life expectancies in the world), so there’s not a lot to lose. Moreover, the Taliban finally realized that their anti-school fixation was counter-productive, and they now (well, most of them) will tolerate schools (even for girls, although grudgingly).