Battles with the Taliban have left 80 of the rebels dead in the last few days, and over 150 dead in the last two weeks. Afghan and Coalition dead have been much lower (a few dozen). While the Taliban claim to have over 10,000 armed men in action across southern Afghanistan, it is believed that there are only about 2,000 of them. Actually, there may now be less than that, since morale among the Taliban is getting shaky. Traditionally, Afghan warriors will simply go home if they feel their side has poor chances of success. This is how many Taliban gunmen are beginning to feel, as it becomes obvious that the Taliban tactics for the big 2006 offensive are not working. The groups of Taliban cannot stand up to Coalition firepower, and Afghan soldiers and police fight the Taliban on at least equal terms. Worse, many of the tribes in southern Afghanistan are actively opposing the Taliban, and Taliban terror tactics are not working to change minds. Most Taliban gunmen are in it for the money, but the Taliban isn't paying enough to justify the increased risks.
June 24, 2006: British troops have recruited and trained about a third of a 3,000 man tribal militia force in Helmand province, where the Taliban believe they have their best chance to establish a power base. Most of the tribal leaders of Helmand do not want this competition and are supporting government efforts to drive the Taliban out.
June 23, 2006: The Taliban beheaded four men suspected of reporting terrorist activity to the government. The Taliban must terrorize the population into keeping quiet, otherwise troops and police will eventually catch up with them.
June 22, 2006: A bomb, attached to a fuel tanker truck, went off as the truck crossed the border from Pakistan, killing six people and destroying ten vehicles. Meanwhile, the Coalition search for groups of armed Taliban is succeeding, with several dozen Taliban being killed or captured each day.
June 21, 2006: In the south, police caught a senior Taliban leader, Mullah Osman, and several associates. Osman had been behind several recent terror attacks.
June 20, 2006: Unable to survive any battles with Afghan or Coalition troops, the Taliban have devoted most of their efforts to terrorizing their opponents among the Pushtun tribes of southern Afghanistan. This has resulted in the deaths of tribal elders, and tribesmen suspected of reporting on Taliban activities to the government. The Taliban is also playing up the traditional Afghan dislike for foreigners. This has caused president Karzai to openly call for U.S. and NATO troops to be more careful when it came to how they operated. In other words, try to avoid Afghan casualties, which the Taliban use to stoke the ancient Afghan enthusiasm for driving out foreigners, no matter what the foreigners are doing.