An official for the Afghan government today reiterated the threat to block the NATO offensive against the major southern city of Kandahar, warning that the alliance would have to guarantee that civilians would be protected in the offensive.
Whether or not the Afghan government will have any actual say of the matter is unclear, however, and US forces seem to be stepping up attacks in the area in anticipation of the June offensive.
But it is clear there are growing doubts about the wisdom of the offensive, notably after the February Marjah invasion, a media-friendly invasion of a sparsely populated farming community sold as the “test” for the Kandahar strategy, has yielded less than promising results.
The goal of occupying the city and propping up some semblence of a government is still unfinished, even with the comparative advantage of Marjah not being nearly as big a city as it was presented as.
Kandahar, by constrast, is an enormous city, and one with a population that has already had its fill of violence and occupation. The idea that a new violent occupation is going to solve the problems in the city seems farcical, but seems to be the only idea NATO has come up with.