'Do-or-die' Battle for Kandahar now likely to be mainly civilian reconstruction effort

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Kandahar (Afghanistan), June 9(ANI): The proposed 'do-or-die' battle for Kandahar which had been expected to begin this month, has evolved more into a civilian reconstruction effort with military action in a supportive role.

According to the New York Times, the might of the strategy, which had the involvement of the Afghan, American and NATO civilian and military officials, has been brought down due to opposition to military action from an unsympathetic local population and Afghan officials in Kabul.

There are also concerns that military approach had not worked as well as hoped in a much smaller area in Marja, in neighboring Helmand Province.

The U.S. assault on Marja that began on February 13 was called Operation Moshtarak Phase II.

It is believed that planners initially called the Kandahar offensive Operation Moshtarak Phase III (after the Dari word for "together"), but now it has been renamed to Operation Hamkari (Dari for "cooperation").

"I'm not sure exactly what happened at the political level above us, but the very name of the thing changed," The New York Times quoted a NATO official in Kandahar, as saying.

In Operation Moshtarak Phase II, the plan was to carry out a military assault to oust the Taliban, followed by rapid delivery of government services, but in Kandahar the approach is now the opposite.

Civilian aid workers, protected by an increased military force, will try to provide those services first, before any major military action.

"This is not going to be a door-to-door military campaign. You'll see more Afghan National Police checkpoints, but it's not going to be an aggressive military campaign. They've looked at it and realized it wouldn't work," an American civilian official said. (ANI)

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