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Afghanistan war: Taliban escalates violence with Kandahar blasts

The Taliban appear to be making good on a promise to escalate violence in Kandahar, where NATO is planning to launch what it sees as the next major offensive of the Afghanistan war.

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Afghanistan war: US Army soldiers scan the landscape for Taliban fighters during a recon patrol near the Helmand/Kandahar border Sunday.

Tim Wimborne/Reuters

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Three explosions rocked Kandahar on Monday morning as the city slid deeper into violence. The southern Afghan city is where NATO is planning to launch what it sees as the next major offensive of the Afghanistan war.

The blasts, two of which apparently targeted Kandahar's deputy police chief, killed two civilians and prompted the United Nations to say it was scaling back operations there. The aid community already has a far lighter footprint there than in other parts of Afghanistan.

Residents sound increasingly fatalistic about their prospects this summer, with the Taliban apparently making good on a promise to escalate violence in the city in response to NATO’s plans to restore central government authority to a city that, in as much as it is controlled by anyone, is in the hands of a murky nexus of local powerbrokers and gangsters.

Alex Strick van Linschoten, a Dutch researcher who is one of only a handful of Europeans in Kandahar, reported on his blog that a businessman had predicted that Afghanistan's second largest city faced destruction.

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