“…Key military operations have been delayed until the fall, efforts to improve local government are having little impact and a Taliban assassination campaign has brought a sense of dread to Kandahar’s dusty streets.
NATO officials once spoke of demonstrating major progress by mid-August, but U.S. commanders now say the turning point may not be reached until November, and perhaps later.
At the urging of Afghan leaders, U.S. officials have stopped describing the plan as a military operation. Instead, they’ve dubbed it “Cooperation for Kandahar ,” a moniker meant to focus attention on efforts to build up local governance while reducing fears of street battles.
“We’re not using the term ‘operation’ or ‘major operations’ because that often brings to mind in peoples’ psyche the idea of a D-Day and an H-Hour and an attack,” U.S. Army Gen. Stanley A. McChrystal , the commander of U.S.-led international forces in Afghanistan , said Thursday in Washington .
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton echoed him. “This is not Fallujah ,” Clinton told reporters, in a reference to the house-to-house fighting that drove Sunni Muslim insurgents from the Iraqi town of Fallujah . “Lessons have been learned since Iraq . A lot of lessons.”
….According to an updated timeline seen by McClatchy , the U.S. troop buildup won’t reach its peak until September, around the time that Afghanistan is to hold parliamentary elections and U.S. congressional election campaigns will be in full swing.
One major question is whether there will be enough forces for Kandahar , where McChrystal’s plan calls for the deployment of 20,000 U.S. and Afghan troops.
U.S. defense officials and defense analysts said that McChrystal used 10,000 troops in Helmand to gain control of a rural river valley with about 50,000 residents. But in Kandahar , however, Afghanistan’s second largest city, with an estimated population of 800,000, he’s calling for just 20,000 troops.
“None of this makes any sense,” said a U.S. defense official. “If it took you 10,000 (U.S. troops) to do Marjah, there aren’t enough troops (for Kandahar ).” The official spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak publicly…"
2010-05-14 18:33:30 UTC