Taliban checkpoints have mushroomed on the main roads leading here as the insurgency spreads into Bamiyan—the province selected last year to kick off the U.S.-led coalition’s handover to Afghan security control because it was deemed the country’s safest.

With insurgents and bandits openly roaming Bamiyan’s remote districts and the Taliban blowing up food and fuel trucks on the road to Kabul, many residents here increasingly fear they will be overrun once the last coalition base in the province closes in April. …

What happens here is a portent of things to come in the rest of Afghanistan, as the U.S. winds down its longest foreign war. The U.S.-led coalition began transferring security responsibility over provinces and districts to Afghan security forces in mid-2011. The entire country is slated to be handed over by 2014, the year when the coalition’s military mandate ends.