US defence chief Robert Gates called on Friday for a rapid expansion of Afghanistan's military capability, saying that the conflict there was "the Afghans' war for their own country", and not an American or NATO war.
Government officials in Kabul and Islamabad have announced plans to meet with leaders of the Afghan insurgency - including the Taliban - insisting that "without dialogue we cannot have any sort of conclusion".
Pakistani troops killed nine Taliban militants in clashes in a tribal region bordering Afghanistan. Pakistan is locked in an ongoing conflict with militias and Al-Qaeda partisans that has threatened its overall stability.
The French army's General Staff confirmed media reports claiming two anti-tank missiles were left behind by French troops on Saturday following clashes with Taliban insurgents in the Kapisa region east of Kabul.
Afghan insurgent leader Gulbuddin Hekmatyar claimed responsibility in a video statement for an ambush in August that killed 10 French soldiers, according to an Afghan news agency. The attack was the deadliest for French military in 25 years.
Malalai Kakar, Afghanistan's highest ranking female police officer and a leading advocate of women's rights, was shot dead by unidentified gunmen as she left home for work on Sunday in the southern city of Kandahar.