Fears that Afghanistan is sliding towards a violent insurgency similar to the one in Iraq seem truer every day. A van carrying Afghan workers to an American army base in Kandahar where they worked was blown up. Ten of them were killed. The Taliban quickly claimed responsibility for the attack.As in Iraq, the victims were soft targets – the kind of people difficult to protect around the clock. Kandahar in southern Afghanistan is considered the heartland of the Taliban rebels. This latest bombing is a reminder that they are building up just five years after they were removed from power by US-led forces. Acknowledging the threat from the Taliban, Western troops along with Afghan soldiers are planning a major counter-offensive against the rebels in their mountain hideouts.