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Taliban ramps up attacks to send message that no one is safe

Fighters with Afghanistan's Taliban militia.
Fighters with Afghanistan's Taliban militia. Photo: Photo: Faridullah Ahmadzai / AFP / Getty Images

On Friday, four civilians in Afghanistan's northeast Badakhshan province were killed, and eight injured, after a gun battle between the Taliban and security forces, per the Washington Post. That came after a suicide bomber in neighboring Kunar province killed two people and injured another.

The bigger picture: The first three months of 2018 have seen repeated attacks on civilians and increased aggression from the Taliban. Michael Kugelman of the Wilson Center says the message the Taliban is sending is simple: "Despite U.S. efforts to step up battlefield pressure on the Taliban, the group remains strong and quite capable of carrying out sophisticated, devastating attacks."