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The Battle for Kandahar…….

An American military convoy traveled down a highway Saturday in Kandahar Province.

US Special operators have been picking off leaders of the Tailabn..while convental troops start the slow build-up and offense against the Taliban strongholds in Afghanistan’s second largest city…..

The US does not want a large military occupation force in place…..perfferring a small foot print….

The push goes on with the Taliban fighting back.,….but giving up ground……

Small bands of elite American Special Operations forces have been operating with increased intensity for several weeks in Kandahar, southern Afghanistan’s largest city, picking up or picking off insurgent leaders to weaken the Talibanin advance of major operations, senior administration and military officials say.

The looming battle for the spiritual home of the Taliban is shaping up as the pivotal test of President Obama’s Afghanistan strategy, including how much the United States can count on the country’s leaders and military for support, and whether a possible increase in civilian casualties from heavy fighting will compromise a strategy that depends on winning over the Afghan people.

It will follow a first offensive, into the hamlet of Marja, that isshowing mixed results. And it will require the United States and its Afghan partners to navigate a battleground that is not only much bigger than Marja but also militarily, politically and culturally more complex.

Two months after the Marja offensive, Afghan officials acknowledge that the Taliban have in some ways retaken the momentum there, including killing or beating locals allied with the central government and its American backers. “We are still waiting to see the outcome in Marja,” said Shaida Abdali, the deputy Afghan national security adviser. “If you are planning for operations in Kandahar, you must show success in Marja. You have to be able to point to something. Now you don’t have a good example to point to there.”

The battle for Kandahar has become the make-or-break offensive of the eight-and-half-year war. The question is whether military force, softened with appeals to the local populace, can overcome a culture built on distrust of outsiders, including foreign forces and even neighboring tribes.

More than a dozen senior military and civilian officials directly involved in the Kandahar operation agreed to discuss the outlines of the offensive on the condition that they not be identified discussing a pending operation. But in general, the military under Gen. Stanley A. McChrystal, the senior American and allied commander, has been willing to talk about operations in advance to try to scare off insurgents and convince the local population that their government and its allies are moving to increase security.

Instead of the quick punch that opened the Marja offensive, the operation in Kandahar, a sprawling urban area, is designed to be a slowly rising tide of military action. That is why the opening salvos of the offensive are being carried out in the shadows by Special Operations forces.

“Large numbers of insurgent leadership based in and around Kandahar have been captured or killed,” said one senior American military officer directly involved in planning the Kandahar offensive. But, he acknowledged, “it’s still a contested battle space.”

Senior American and allied commanders say the goal is to have very little visible American presence inside Kandahar city itself, with that effort carried by Afghan Army and police units.

More……

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April 26, 2010 Posted by | Aircraft, Breaking News, Government, Media, Men, Military, Other Things, PoliticalDog Calls, Politics, Updates | , , , , , | 1 Comment