Taliban unleashes slew of bombings, attacks in eastern Afghanistan

Officials from International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) command had yet to identify whether the slain soldiers were coalition or Afghan troops. 

The largest attack came as Afghan insurgents attempted to overrun the joint U.S. and Polish troops based in Ghazni. 

A total of 19 people were killed, and 63 were wounded in the base assault, Maj. Marek Pietrzak, a Polish military spokesman, told the AP on Wednesday.

Roughly 10 Taliban gunmen were killed by U.S. and coalition forces during the attempted raid on the joint base, according to the Polish Defense Ministry. 

The base attack began when insurgents detonated a massive truck bomb against the outer wall of the outpost. 

After the blast, Taliban fighters rushed the base's outer perimeter in an attempt to overrun the installation. U.S. and coalition troops were able to hold the base since the truck bomb failed to blow a hole in the outer wall. 

The Ghazni attacks are part of an uptick in insurgent violence in eastern Afghanistan and elsewhere in the country, as local government and military leaders prepare for the U.S. troop withdrawal next year. 

American and Afghan forces are bracing for a possible large-scale Taliban offensive in eastern Afghanistan to coincide with the end this year's fighting season. 

With less than two months left in this fighting season, "We expect the enemies of the Afghan people to come out and try to achieve those objectives that they've not been able to achieve," Maj. Gen. James McConville, the top U.S. commander for Regional Command-East (RC-East), said earlier this month. 

"We're expecting a spike in violence," McConville told reporters at the Pentagon via teleconference from Bagram Airfield in Afghanistan. 

The early months of this year's fighting season, which is likely the last for U.S. forces before the White House's 2014 withdrawal deadline, has been punctuated by several spectacular attacks in and around the secure zone in Kabul. 

These types of strikes were designed to chip away at Afghan President Hamid Karzai's power base and delegitimize the government's hold in the far-flung provinces and districts in the east and elsewhere along the Afghan countryside. 

It is also a sign that the Taliban are aiming to inflict as much pain as they can on the U.S. in the months remaining before the planned troop pullout in April 2014.