In Afghanistan, there are three key provinces (from west to east; Nimroz, Helmand, Kandahar) where the Taliban have to maintain control, or lose their base of support and key recruiting area. In order to make it easier for NATO commanders to control troops in the battle for these provinces, the former NATO Regional Command South, which controlled forces in six provinces, now only has to deal with four (Kandahar, Zabul, Uruzgan, and Daykundi). A new command, Regional Command Southwest, will handle Helmand and Nimroz (on the Iranian border), plus parts of some provinces to the north.
There are now six NATO commands; Regional Command Capital (Kabul, with 8,000 troops), Regional Command North (9,000), Regional Command West (7,000), Regional Command South (30,000), Regional Command East (33,000) and the new Regional Command Southwest (27,000).
Most of the fighting in the past year has been taking place in Helmand and Kandahar, where the Taliban have been under heavy attack for most of the past year. By the end of this year, there will be 150,000 foreign troops in Afghanistan, and over 150,000 Afghan soldiers and police. The largest foreign contingent is American, with 100,000 troops by the end of the year, and Britain, with 10,000.