Published: Jul 29, 2011 9:53 PM EDT
Updated: Jul 29, 2011 8:53 PM EDT

KANDAHAR, Afghanistan (AP) - The top U.S. military officer says the recent spike in spectacular violence rocking southern Afghanistan has been expected, but he is meeting with Afghan leaders to determine how the attacks and political assassinations will affect the area's fragile governments.
Adm. Mike Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, has landed in Afghanistan for an unannounced visit. He is telling reporters traveling with him that he plans to talk to Afghan leaders about how U.S. and coalition forces can help them improve their own security.
Mullen's visit comes on the heels of a spate of bombings in the southern province of Uruzgan, and just days after Kandahar's mayor was assassinated by a suicide bomber. The mayor was the third southern Afghan leader to be killed in the last three weeks.

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