A top U.S. military commander says Afghanistan could see record levels of violence this year, with many Taliban attacks in eastern Afghanistan originating from across the Pakistani border.

Major General Jeffrey Schloesser told reporters Thursday in Kabul that the Taliban are afraid to attack coalition forces but will likely increase attacks on softer targets.

He also said a large number of insurgents are still crossing from Pakistan into Afghanistan with the goal of carrying out attacks.

Last year was the bloodiest since U.S.-led forces ousted the Taliban from power in 2001. More than 6,000 people were killed in 2007, mostly militants.

Also today, the Czech Republic's Senate voted to send a special forces unit of 100 troops to join the U.S.-led mission in Afghanistan. The deployment still needs approval from the NATO-member's lower house of parliament.

The Taliban has vowed to carry out a wave of suicide bombings across Afghanistan this year to try to dislodge the government and drive out U.S-led coalition troops in the country.

In violence Wednesday, Taliban attacks in southern and eastern Afghanistan, including two suicide bombings, killed at least 23 people and wounded many others.

Some information for this report provided by AP.