Khalil Nouri is the co-founder of New World Strategies Coalition Inc., a native Afghan think tank for nonmilitary solution studies for Afghanistan. The statements and opinions expressed in this guest blog are solely those of Khalil Nouri.
There is no doubt that the controversy around and resulting exit of Gen. Stanley McChrystal is a huge distraction to the impending campaign in Kandahar. The fallout could alter the course of the difficult war by significantly redefining the shape, form and function of the entire effort in Afghanistan.
The replacement of McChrystal is a major blow to the already slow-moving counterinsurgency operation in Kandahar, where the prospect for success throughout Afghanistan hinges upon success in the Pashtun heartland city that cradled the Taliban more than a decade ago.
McChrystal enjoyed the closest relationship of any American official with Afghan President Hamid Karzai. Karzai was in support of McChrystal’s continued service as the top general to lead the NATO operation in his country.
As Afghan and coalition troops gear up for operations in Kandahar, the 101st Airborne MedEvac unit readies a Blackhawk helicopter at the Kandahar Airfield. The unit is tasked with transporting troop casualties as well as sick and injured local residents.
Afghan President Hamid Karzai and Gen. Stanley McChrystal, the top U.S. military commander in Afghanistan, say they've secured backing from local leaders for an upcoming military operation in the province. READ MORE
[Update: 11:35 a.m. ET] American-led operations against the Taliban in southern Afghanistan will happen "more slowly than we had originally anticipated," the top U.S. military commander in Afghanistan told reporters Thursday. "I think it will take a number of months for this to play out. But I don't think that's necessarily a bad thing. I think it's more important that we get it right than we get it fast," Gen. Stanley McChrystal said on the sidelines of a NATO meeting in Brussels, Belgium. Read the full story
BRUSSELS, Belgium — American casualties in Afghanistan are likely to continue to rise, particularly through the summer, the top U.S. military commander in Afghanistan told reporters Thursday.
"It's likely that our casualties and violence will continue to rise particularly through the summer months. They could rise well into the fall," Gen. Stanley McChrystal said on the sidelines of a NATO meeting in Brussels, Belgium. "We are pressuring the enemy and they are reacting to that," he said. FULL POST
Suspected insurgents placed a bomb in a cart and remotely detonated it while a police vehicle drove by in Afghanistan's Kandahar province Sunday morning.
The ensuing explosion killed two civilians and a police officer, the provincial governor's office said. Eleven others were wounded. FULL POST
The top Taliban commander in the southern Afghan city of Kandahar has been killed, NATO-led forces said Friday.
Mullah Zergay directed insurgent activities in two districts of Kandahar province, including the city of Kandahar, said a statement from the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF). He was killed in a raid last week in Zhari district.
Afghan and international troops had been tracking Zergay's location for several weeks and raided a Taliban safe haven May 28 to capture him. Zergay and several members of his security detail were killed in the ensuing fight, ISAF said. FULL POST
CNN's Paula Hancocks, on the ground in Afghanistan, describes the sense of eeriness on the streets of Kandahar. "You know there's danger on the street," she says, "You have a sense that there is something out there ... but you don't know where this danger is exactly."
She also talks about the differences between Kabul and Kandahar, the sense of fear on the streets in Kandahar and what it's like for women now in the southern province.
Within weeks, 20,000 U.S., Afghan and coalition forces will have poured into the Kandahar region of southern Afghanistan - a longtime Taliban stronghold. The mission: establish security for the people, improve local government and push the Taliban out.
It's the biggest battle yet in the counterinsurgency warplan of Gen. Stanley McChrystal, the commander of U.S. forces in Afghanistan. U.S. forces have already struck Taliban targets in the area, but McChrystal is now trying to make it look like a more gentle war.
"We're not using the term operation or major operations, because that often brings to mind in people's psyche the idea of a D-Day and an H-hour and an attack," he said at a Pentagon briefing in May.
But what happens if this Plan A doesn't work? Some people say Plan B is to make Plan A work. FULL POST
A precision air strike has killed one of the two most senior Taliban leaders in Kandahar province and several of his fighters, the U.S. military said Monday.
Officials had been tracking Taliban commander Haji Amir and his fighters for several days and ordered the air strike when the leader stopped at a small mud hut in a rural area Sunday morning, according to a military statement. FULL POST