Despite the high profile terror attacks, Taliban losses are up and NATO losses are down (about a third) compared to May last year. Vows to avenge the death of Osama bin Laden proved to be hot air. Besides, there are believed to be only a hundred or so al Qaeda members in Afghanistan, hiring themselves out to Taliban death squads. NATO military operations continue to tear apart drug and Taliban organizations and facilities. Most of the fighting continues to be in the key drug production areas (Helmand and Kandahar provinces). Most of those killed by the Taliban continue to be civilians. That does not build popular support for the Taliban, and that is no longer an issue. The Taliban seek supporters wherever they can find them, as it doesn’t take many fanatics to stage terror attacks. Out in the countryside, the Taliban is basically a crime gang, gaining most of their income from extortion, robbery and providing security for drug gangs.
A suicide bomber was intercepted as he sought to kill a senior Afghan intelligence official in Kabul. It’s intelligence that poses the biggest threat to the Taliban. The government intelligence services are becoming more effective, which makes the intel officials and operatives more frequent targets of Taliban death squads.