U.S. expects Afghan Taliban will launch spring campaign to regain lost ground.

In Kabul American military officials in Afghanistan expect that the…

In Kabul American military officials in Afghanistan expect that the Taliban will mount a spring campaign to regain ground lost to U.S. troops last year and use suicide bombing teams to strike at those associated with the Afghan government or coalition forces.

But U.S. commanders in Kabul, as well as officers working in insurgent strongholds in the south and east, said their troops are better positioned than they were last year to fend off the insurgency, now that they have 70,000 new Afghan forces and have seized control of some Taliban sanctuaries.

“I believe their strategy’s going to have to change,” said Lt. Gen. David M. Rodriguez, the No. 2 commander in Afghanistan, referring to insurgents. He said during a tour of two southern provinces last week that he expected more Taliban attacks on “soft targets” such as the newly created village defense forces, as well as former insurgents who have switched sides, and anyone else who “supports our efforts.”

“We’re seeing the beginnings of that through these multiple suicide bombers trying to create a sensational attack that has far-reaching impact,” Rodriguez said, referring to a spate of recent bombings targeting hotels, banks and supermarkets. “It will take courage on the part of the Afghan people and Afghan leaders to lead their way through that, and we’re going to support them.”

Source: Joshua Partlow for The Washington Post.

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