NATO has made much of its planned June invasion of Kandahar, so much so that the they have been trumpeting their buildup in the region for two months, and are expected to do the same thing for two more months, until the invasion begins. It will be, by NATO’s own reckoning, the largest and most significant battle of the war’s ninth year.
Many have questioned the wisdom of telegraphing military actions, particularly announcing them several months in advance and then methodically detailing the buildup as it continues, but the US and its NATO allies are desperate to sell the war as something other than an abject failure. Given this, any news that doesn’t involve another record month of violence or another region virtually ceded to the insurgency is good news, or at least forwards the increasingly dubious narrative that a real strategy exists.
But NATO apparently isn’t alone in this strategy. Today, one of the Taliban’s top commanders in Kandahar gave an “exclusive” interview lauding its own buildup in the major southern city, complete with its own detailed strategy for winning the conflict.
Wisdom be damned, it appears that the summer conflict is going to be as much about the pre-invasion media hype as the actual battle. It is perhaps unsurprising then that the residents of Kandahar, caught watching a massive battle unfold in slow motion, are increasingly resentful of the combatants on both sides, and are less and less confident that either side is ever going to accomplish anything.