A U.S. Marine of Golf Company, 2nd Battalion, 3rd Regiment fires on Taliban positions from a rooftop in the village of Dahaneh Wednesday, Aug. 12, 2009 in the Helmand Province of Afghanistan. Operation Eastern Resolve 2 launched on Wednesday morning in an attempt to push Taliban from the village which is a key commerce town in the province. (AP Photo/Alfred Montesquiou)
KANDAHAR, Afghanistan (AP) - The top U.S. military officer says the recent spike in spectacular violence rocking southern Afghanistan has been expected, but he is meeting with Afghan leaders to determine how the attacks and political assassinations will affect the area's fragile governments.
Adm. Mike Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, has landed in Afghanistan for an unannounced visit. He is telling reporters traveling with him that he plans to talk to Afghan leaders about how U.S. and coalition forces can help them improve their own security.
Mullen's visit comes on the heels of a spate of bombings in the southern province of Uruzgan, and just days after Kandahar's mayor
was assassinated by a suicide bomber. The mayor was the third southern Afghan leader to be killed in the last three weeks.