As Kandahar Invasion Looms, Afghan Govt Positions Remain Unfilled

Prospect of Massive Battle Scares Away Potential Bureaucrats

The expansion of the largely ineffective Kandahar Provincial government, which has an almost legendary reputation for massive corruption and incompetence, is supposed to be setting the stage for a massive NATO invasion of the province, which was supposed to begin last month. The problem is, no one wants the jobs.

It isn’t surprising, of course, as the Taliban has been threatening the assassination of anyone who joins up with the Karzai government, and this danger is doubly so in restive Kandahar. Couple into that the escalation of such attacks almost certain to occur when the NATO troops invade, and the enormous levels of distrust among the populations, and most bureaucrats feel these are jobs that they can’t afford to take, and a large number of positions are left totally unfilled.

The invasion of Kandahar was supposed to be the centerpiece of the NATO war for 2010, but was delayed indefinitely in June citing the lack of support and indeed massive opposition to the operation among locals.

The Kandahar invasion was supposed to be modeled after the invasion of the fictional city of Marjah, yet nearly six months after that invasion Marjah is still in serious turmoil, and troops which were supposed to have been pulled out in a matter of days are expected to remain well into the fall.

The new position, for those officials still determined to invade Kandahar at some point, is that rather than growing the bureaucracy as a precursor it will be a goal of the offensive, convincing the bureaucrats that the jobs are safe enough to take, somehow, through turning the city into a massive combat zone.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is senior editor of