As is often the case, the most interesting point in this New York Times article about a Taliban attack on the British Council in Kabul was buried at the very end. After recounting this suicidal assault–which was dealt with almost entirely by Afghan security forces–the Times notes:
NATO officials, however, say that despite appearances, the Taliban’s promised uptick of violence in the warmer months has largely not emerged. Violence was still up in the first part of the year, according to Western military and intelligence officials. But since May overall insurgent activity has begun to decline from last year’s levels, even as improvised explosive device attacks have risen, taking a major toll on civilians.
This is hardly a sign the war is won–to put it mildly. But it is a small, tentative sign of progress–one that isn’t as sexy as news about occasional terrorist assaults in Kabul (a city that is generally pretty safe)–that may be more significant.