With Afghanistan's presidential election to be held on August 20, candidates held campaign rallies across the country. Afghan and foreign troops deployed in areas under Taliban control to provide security against threatened violent interruptions of voting. The al Jazeera network reported that the Afghan government claims to have struck a number of deals with Taliban commanders to ensure voter safety.
A joint U.S.-Afghan military assault began against Dahaneh, a Taliban stronghold in southern Afghanistan's Helmand province on August 12. Associated Press journalists traveling with the forces reported that militants fired small arms, mortars, and rocket-propelled grenades after helicopters dropped the troops over Taliban lines. The forces were supported by British-made Harrier jets, which are used by both the British military and U.S. Marines.
The United States has placed 50 suspected Afghan drug traffickers with ties to the Taliban on a Pentagon target list of 367 insurgents to be captured or killed, the New York Times reported on August 10, citing a Senate Foreign Relations Committee report to be released this week.
Pakistan's foreign minister, Shah Mahmood Qureshi, told reporters in Islamabad on August 7, "According to my intelligence information, the news [that Taliban leader Baitullah Mehsud is dead] is correct.... And to be 100 percent sure we are going for ground verification and once the ground verification reconfirms, which I think is almost confirmed, then we will be 100 percent sure," Qureshi said.