NATO saw significant criticism for its invasion of Marjah last month, after over a month of US pledges to invade the tiny farming community gave local insurgents ample time to litter the roads with IEDs, leaving them with a much more difficult than expected fight, despite sending some 15,000 troops.
If a month was enough time for the Taliban to mount an irksome defense over the relatively unimportant Marjah, the enormous advanced notice of the invasion of Kandahar, a hugely important city both strategically and morally for the Taliban is setting up an even tougher battle.
Despite claims from Gen. McChrystal last week that the offensive had already begun, there is comparatively little fighting in the city itself, and the Taliban continues to patrol neighborhoods with virtual impunity. In fact, McChrystal conceded it could take months of escalation to bring the force up to its full level.
For now the Taliban is increasing its presence through the city, launching attacks on the unpopular government and encouraging residents to keep guns and supplies in their homes in anticipation of the American invasion. As the weeks and months before the invasion linger on, Taliban fighters will have ample opportunity to prepare for what is looking like a very bloody upcoming battle over the city.