- The Washington Times - Thursday, August 15, 2013

Afghan and coalition forces are preparing for a spike in violence by the Taliban, with about 60 days left in this year’s fighting season, says the U.S. commanding general of coalition forces in East Afghanistan.

“We expect the enemies of the Afghan people to come out and try to achieve those objectives that they’ve not been able to achieve,” Army Maj. Gen. James McConville said Wednesday during a teleconference with reporters at the Pentagon.

“They would like to do some high-profile attacks, hopefully get into Kabul and maybe blow up some things, maybe hurt some innocent people. They’d like to maybe assassinate some senior leadership. And they would like to attack our troops,” said Gen. McConville, who is also commander of the 101st Airborne Division Air Assault unit.

The Taliban fighting season typically runs from March to October.

Since March, the U.S. has reduced the number of bases in the East from 58 to 17, and the number of troops there from 18,000 to 12,000.

Most U.S. and coalition combat forces are scheduled to leave Afghanistan by the end of 2014. The U.S has about 60,000 troops there now, and aims to have about 34,000 there by February.