Gunfire and smoke is seen coming out of a building occupied by militants during a battle in Kabul, Afghanistan, Monday, April 16, 2012.
The United States is preparing for what may be its last major military operation in Afghanistan in a bid to secure the routes to Kabul after the latest Taliban offensive in the capital.
The US-led summer attack is expected to be launched over the course of the coming weeks as a last chance to fortify the security of the capital.
The operation will focus on the main approaches to Kabul from the southern desert and eastern mountainous areas, which are used by both militants and traders who bring merchandise from Iran and Pakistan to the capital city.
The operation to clear militants will cover east and south of the capital, considered as the safe havens of the Taliban, especially the province of Ghazni.
NATO will also carry US-led military operations in eastern provinces namely Paktika and Paktia, which are main access routes to the capital used by militants.
The US-NATO coalition wants to verify that the 330,000 Afghan troops can establish security after the withdrawal of 33,000 US forces, set to leave Afghanistan by the end of September.