US Eyes Massive Offensive in Kandahar

Administration Officials Say Marjah a "Prelude"

by Jason Ditz, February 26, 2010

Reiterating previous comments, several officials in the Obama Administration say that they will soon launch a massive offensive against Afghanistan’s Kandahar Province.

They provided new details, however, saying that the Marjah offensive going on right now was simply a “prelude to larger, more comprehensive operations.” Marjah’s offensive is the single largest single the 2001 invasion, but it seems officials are already looking past the operation and its mixed results to even bigger things.

But while the agricultural community of Marjah had some value to the Taliban, it was mostly by virtue of it being entirely out of the Karzai government’s control since the 2001 US invasion. Kandahar, on the other hand, is the Taliban’s “heartland,” and resistance is likely to be enormous.

Officials say that control over Kandahar city is the primary goal for 2010. But it has been one of NATO’s primary goals for the better part of the last decade, and while the number of troops being thrown at the region is increasing, the strategy seems roughly unchanged.

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