Commanders Give Kandahar Mission Seven Months

As Military Aspect Downplayed, NATO Desperate to Show Progress

NATO commanders are saying that the upcoming invasion of Kandahar, since rebranded as a “series of efforts,” will have to show conclusive progress by the end of 2010.

We’ll never have more capacity than we have by late summer 2010,” insisted US Brig. Gen. Frederick Hodges, “we’ll never have it any better.”

But the rebranding effort has sought to serious downplay the military aspect of the Kandahar invasion, with British Maj. Gen. Nick Carter claiming “this is much more about getting the population to feel secure in the hands of its own government and its own security forces so that it then begins to work.”

Yet these seem to be decidedly cross purposes. While NATO might well be able to convince war weary Western voters that some military goal has been met within the next seven months, they will be extremely hard pressed to prove that the Kandahar population is more confident in the Karzai government.

In fact, recent indications are that scant few Kandaharis have any real faith in the Karzai government, unsurprising with their city among the most corrupt in the nation. The idea that after nearly nine years of war the US military is going to march in and restore faith in Karzai’s government in a few months seems laughable, and the struggle to present itself as anything but a gang of US-backed crooks is going to be a long-standing problem.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is Senior Editor for He has 20 years of experience in foreign policy research and his work has appeared in The American Conservative, Responsible Statecraft, Forbes, Toronto Star, Minneapolis Star-Tribune, Providence Journal, Washington Times, and the Detroit Free Press.