Taliban insurgents are active in 33 of 34 provinces in Afghanistan and the country is more dangerous than it has been in nearly a decade, an official says. Small-arms fire, bombs and shelling incidents in August were up 49 percent compared with last year and Nic Lee of the Afghan non-government organization safety office says the situation is getting worse, The New York Times reported Saturday. The safety office is a sovereign group financed by Western governments and agencies to observe safety for aid workers, the newspaper said. "We do not support the perspective that this constitutes 'things getting worse before they get better,'" said Lee, "but rather see it as being consistent with the five-year trend of things just getting worse." Large areas of the country once safe now have a substantial Taliban presence -- even in areas where there are few Pashtuns, who previously were the Talibans only supporters -- and unarmed government employees can no longer travel safely in about one-third of its 368 districts, the Times said. There are areas in some regions considered too dangerous to visit in all but one province. The increased frequency of attacks is due to the larger numbers of U.S. troops in the country and does not mean allied forces are losing ground to the Taliban, American military officials said. The worsening security comes as the Obama administration is under increasing pressure to show results to maintain public support for the war, and raises serious concerns about whether the country can hold legitimate elections for Parliament next Saturday.