As insurgent attacks intensify around the capital of Afghanistan's Helmand province, residents are blaming rampant government corruption for the rising militant threat. One Afghan official said that residents were so angry at corruption that they were turning to the Taliban.
Afghan President Ashraf Ghani appealed Wednesday for sustained international help for his insurgency-wracked country, promising international donors that the government would concentrate its future efforts on tackling rampant poverty.
The Taliban launched a large-scale assault Monday on Kunduz, a northern Afghan city that briefly fell to the insurgents a year ago and was only fully liberated weeks later with the help of U.S. airstrikes.
Afghanistan's government signed a draft peace deal on Thursday with a designated "global terrorist" after lengthy negotiations that could pave the way for a similar accord with the Taliban, who have been waging war on Kabul for 15 years.
Militants stormed a building housing an international aid organization in Kabul, provoking an overnight firefight with security forces in which three gunmen and one civilian were killed, Afghan officials said Tuesday.
The Taliban have appointed a new military chief as the insurgents try to gain more ground in Afghanistan rather than talk peace under a new leadership, Taliban officials said in telephone interviews over the weekend.