Having spent months touting its upcoming Kandahar “offensive” to the world as the centerpiece of their 2010 plans for the ongoing Afghan War, NATO has decided that “offensive” doesn’t sound very good, and has reported decided to rebrand the invasion as a “process” or conversely a “series of efforts.”
Most analysts have taken this as an indication that the US-led offensive is going to be much more gradual than originally suggested, and possibly will last a lot longer as well. For the residents of Kandahar however, neither sounds particularly appealing.
“More foreign troops means more attacks and more dead civilians,” noted Khan Mohammed, a car dealer in Kandahar, adding that NATO should “open their eyes and realize they can’t beat the Taliban through military means.”
Which may be part of why officials are now talking about it as a combination of military and non-military actions. The reality however is that as with the Marjah fiasco, the military offensive will dictate the pace and if the non-military action doesn’t keep up or doesn’t materialize at all, as seems to regularly be the case, the offensive will produce a lot of casualties, a lot of angry civilians, and little meaningful progress.