Afghan mayor turns Taliban leader
Afghanistan has seen a sharp increase in violence, particularly in the south and east - and Taliban militants are regrouping and have vowed to step up their attacks in the capital. There has been a sharp increase in the number of civilian casualties in Afghanistan this year. More than six years after they were toppled in Afghanistan, Taliban forces are resurgent. An average of 400 attacks occurred each month in 2006. That number rose to more than 500 a month in 2007.
Many of the renegades are rejoining the rank and file of Taliban and this story says that a mayor of Herat province has gone back to Taliban.
The former mayor of Afghanistan's Herat province is now the most powerful local Taliban commander.
Ghullam Yahya Akbari told Al Jazeera that he will not negotiate with the Afghan government as long as foreign troops are on Afghan soil.
Given exclusive access to one of his 20 mountain bases hidden deep inside rugged terrain that Akbari says were also used to fight the Russians, Al Jazeera's Qais Azimy found a group of at least 60 well-armed Taliban fighters.
Akbari's steely resolve to fight foreign forces comes amid reports of many soldiers defecting to the Taliban. Many are unhappy with the "un-Islamic" ways of the foreign troops.
Young and old
Some in Akbari's camps were just teenagers, others old enough to be enjoying retirement, but all had left families behind and were committed to the fight to push international troops out of Afghanistan.