The next major battle in Afghanistan is expected to take place in Kandahar, and Yaroslav Trofimov of the Wall Street Journal reports that it might “look completely different from Marjah, where thousands of U.S. Marines fought their way into rural areas under total Taliban control.”
Trofimov writes: “No combat is needed for coalition or Afghan troops to enter Kandahar city, the Taliban movement's birthplace. Unlike Marjah, this metropolis of one million people has remained under government authority, albeit an increasingly tenuous one, since the Taliban regime's downfall in 2001. U.S. and Canadian patrols rumble through the city every day; a huge coalition base sits in its outskirts.
The Afghan government here, however, has been so weak, predatory and corrupt that more and more Kandaharis have come to view the Taliban as a lesser evil. Changing this perception holds the key to victory in the city—and to the success of the surge, coalition officials say.”
A recently published United Nations report states that corruption in Afghanistan is leading to increased poverty, according to the BBC .
“[The U.N. report] says the majority of Afghans live in poverty despite the fact that some $35bn (£23bn) of aid was poured into the country between 2002 and 2009,” the BBC writes.
Some other news reports and perspectives:
- Michael Scherer (Time): “Obama and Karzai: A Relationship in Progress"
- Karen DeYoung (Washington Post): “Afghan corruption: How to follow the money?"
- Amy Davidson (New Yorker): “Obama in Kabul"