The Taliban took over two towns in southern Afghanistan this week, burning the Afghan flag and hoisting their own. Afghan government officials said the Taliban troops had support from the Pakistani militant Islamic group Lashkar-e-Taiba. Despite the presence of hundreds of Canadian and Afghan soldiers, the Taliban is rebounding in the south. Militants have attacked girls schools as well as barbershops that offer beard-shaving services. The situation is deteriorating just as NATO is preparing to take over peacekeeping operations from the U.S.-led coalition; command is to be transferred in two weeks.