For the first time in over thirty years, the Afghan parliament met. In the rest of the country, there is still some violence from a few hundred armed Taliban. Banditry is a bigger problem, but the bandits don't want to take over the country, thus they do not get as much media coverage.
December 18, 2005: In the south, on the highway that links Kandahar with Kabul, about a dozen Taliban attacked a police checkpoint, leaving three policemen and and one Taliban dead (and several others wounded). In a similar incident nearby, one policemen and two Taliban died.
December 17, 2005: In at least some parts of the country the Taliban seems to be changing tactics. Given that some provinces are rather strongly pro-government, rather than engage in combat operations against Afghan and Coalition security forces, Taliban leaders in those areas appear to be trying to shift toward a "hearts and minds" campaign. This means offering villagers protection from bandits, and services such as medicines and schools (where the Taliban's brand of Islam will be preached), spreading propaganda, and so forth. If it proves necessary to engage in combat, Taliban forces in these areas have been instructed to avoid, if at all possible, fighting Coalition troops, who are usually too much for them. Instead, the Taliban concentrate on Afghan security forces, against whom they have a better chance of achieving some success.
Meanwhile, the Taliban seems to have been trying to put together what can only be termed "storm troopers." In at least one recent engagement, Afghan and Coalition found themselves in action against a roughly company-sized Taliban detachment that displayed excellent discipline, sophisticated use of their equipment, and very good tactics. While the Taliban are unlikely to field more than one or two such units, given the difficulty of recruiting and training the necessary personnel, they present a serious threat, since it's possible such a unit could be used to secure some particularly spectacular objective, scoring a considerable PR victory. It appears that Afghan and Coalition intelligence efforts have been be focused on locating and destroying such units and their base camps.
Bosnia (actually, the Christian Serb faction in Bosnia) are donating surplus (after merging their militia into the national army) weapons to Afghanistan. This will include 4.500 assault rifles and a million rounds of ammunition for them. This is being done to make nice to NATO, which is angry with the Bosnian Serbs for hiding war criminals.
December 16, 2005: In the south, the Taliban killed a teacher who, after many threats, refused to stop teaching girls in high school. Many more teachers are threatened, and many do either leave teaching, or arrange to only teach boys. The Taliban don't like to kill teachers, because that enrages the teachers friends, family and tribe. This can lead to a feud, which is bad to the tribe based Taliban.
December 15, 2005: An American soldier was killed battling Taliban in the south. Another G.I. was wounded. In Kandahar, Taliban gunmen killed a pro-government cleric. Meanwhile, Pakistan has agreed to increased intelligence sharing with Afghan and coalition military forces. This is to make it more difficult for Taliban gunmen to operate along, and across, the border.
December 14, 2005: A suicide bomber attempted to damage the famous Blue Mosque in Mazar-i-Sharif city, but only killed himself, and did little damage. Elsewhere, a donkey bomb failed, when a donkey carrying a landmine exploded too far away from its target, killing only the donkey.
December 13, 2005: In the south, two policemen were wounded while defusing a roadside bomb. Elsewhere in the area, four Taliban suspected were arrested.