Huge death tolls that would once have made headlines are becoming commonplace in Afghanistan, as the Taliban and other militant groups flex their muscles daily against a US-backed military struggling to cope.
There remains no clear end in sight for a war that has turned into a bloody stalemate, as the BBC World Service’s Dawood Azami explains.
Is the violence getting worse?
Since the US-led invasion in 2001, Afghanistan has never been as insecure as it is now. The Taliban control more territory than at any point since the removal of their regime 17 years ago.
The Afghan war has already become the longest war in US history. With the passage of time, the conflict has not only become more intense – it has also become more complicated. The attacks are becoming bigger, more frequent, more widespread and much deadlier. Both sides – the Taliban and the US/Nato-backed Afghan government – are trying to gain the upper hand.
On 10 August, the Taliban entered Ghazni, a strategic provincial capital on a key highway south of Kabul, before the Afghan security forces supported by US advisors and air strikes pushed them back. On 15 May, the Taliban entered the capital of Farah province in western Afghanistan, close to the Iranian border.
Many Taliban fighters are killed and injured as they are pushed back after attacks on provincial capitals, but such attacks have a huge propaganda value for the group and boost their morale and recruitment. The insurgents…