“The Obama administration’s campaign to drive the Taliban out of Afghanistan’s second-largest city is a go-for-broke move that even its authors are unsure will succeed.
The bet is that the Kandahar operation, backed by thousands of U.S. troops and billions of dollars, will break the mystique and morale of the insurgents, turn the tide of the war and validate the administration’s Afghanistan strategy.
There is no Plan B.
…The name of the offensive — Hamkari Baraye Kandahar, or Cooperation for Kandahar — was carefully chosen to avoid the word “operation,” which suggests violence. The administration official described it benignly as a “military presence” and Karzai has defined it as a “process.” Last week, Gen. Stanley A. McChrystal, the top U.S. commander in Afghanistan, called the offensive “a unique challenge.”
…Among the “significant risks” the strategy poses, the analysis said, huge U.S. expenditures in Kandahar — including 80 percent of U.S. Agency for International Development resources designated for Afghanistan this year — could “undermine, rather than create, stability.” Citing the “unsettling” results of research being conducted at Tufts University, it noted that little link has been established between aid and stability, and that most Afghans think more aid would simply contribute to the corruption seen as the primary fuel for insurgency…"
2010-05-29 13:08:04 UTC