Frustration for U.S. troops in Kandahar

Trying to made headway in Taliban birthplace

About two weeks ago Canada turned over responsibility for Zhari, a lush farming district west of Kandahar city, to the U.S. army. It’s part of the gradual curtailing of Canada’s role in Kandahar before next year’s planned full Canadian military withdrawal from Afghanistan. Zhari is seen as the cradle of the Taliban insurgency. Now, early American news accounts of the challenge facing Western forces there are emerging. This Washington Post story reports on U.S. efforts to persuade local leaders to back the weak Afghan government, and not the Taliban. The challenge, as the Canadians learned, is that the Taliban has a “stranglehold on the population” and the locals are angry about the foreign military presence. Frustration comes through in the story of how a tribal council tentatively suggested sending locals on U.S. patrols, then dropped the promising idea. “When it came time to decide,” says a U.S. commander, “everyone stepped back.”

Washington Post