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Thousands of Police Circle Kabul Ahead of Independence Day

According to recent data by the Afghanistan NGO Safety Office, insurgent attacks in Afghanistan have jumped 50 percent in the first half of 2008. The stats are prompting more strenuous efforts on behalf of NATO and Afghan police to counter Taliban resistance, the latest of which has claimed 88 lives. In response, 7,000 police have set up checkpoints to secure the nation’s Independence Day celebration in an unprecedented show of force.

Taliban violence is rising across Afghanistan including a deadly attack on a NATO convoy, attacks on police, and roadside bombings. The violence indicates that the Taliban is gaining footholds in the provinces surrounding Kabul. Hamid Karzai's government is desperate to "create an environment of trust and prevent any disruptive actions by the enemy," while celebrating the country's 89th anniversary of independence from Britain.

Despite the upswing in violence, NATO officials believe that the seven-year effort to stabilize Afghanistan is making progress. Residents however, feel differently — most are afraid to leave their houses after 7 p.m. More than 3,200 people have been killed in insurgency related violence this year.

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