Afghan Journal

Lifting the veil on conflict, culture and politics

US military surge: the view from Kandahar



The U.S. military has stopped the Taliban momentum in southern Afghanistan, and is probably starting to reverse it following the surge, according to a study we wrote about this week here. The view from the ground, though, is much less rosy.

Australia’s Lowy Institute for International Policy has published a paper under its Afghan Voices series looking at how ordinary Afghans view the current round of military operations centred around Kandahar.

Author Zabih Ullah spoke to people in Kandahar and its surrounding districts and they don’t seem particularly impressed with the surge. Most believe the offensive¬†will end up like so many other operations in the past and that the only people to suffer will be ordinary Afghans. It’s the ordinary people with no links to the Taliban who end up losing lives, getting wounded or arrested in these operations, they believe.

That said, though, the people of Kandahar don’t want the coalition to leave. They see a role for foreign forces in the province, but one that is focused more on stabilisation and peace building rather than hunt down-the-Taliban operations that U.S. military generals have repeatedly mounted in the troubled region.