Fresh Troops to Target Afghanistan's Troubled South
Kandahar key in coming Afghan surge
By Jane Yager,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 25, 2009 7:54 AM CST
Rubble caused by Tuesday's explosion is seen in the city of Kandahar province, south of Kabul, Afghanistan, Wednesday, Aug. 26, 2009.   (AP Photo/Allauddin Khan)
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(Newser) – Though President Obama has yet to announce his plan for finishing the job in Afghanistan, military commanders say the bulk of the fresh troops—regardless of their number—will be sent to the country's volatile south to reverse Taliban gains, specifically targeting the Taliban stronghold of Kandahar. The coming surge will pack thousands of troops into a tight cordon around Kandahar while also pouring economic, police, and political aid into the city to convince residents the Afghan government serves them better than the Taliban, the Wall Street Journal reports.

The move will be the first large-scale test of Gen. Stanley McChrystal's plan to shift troops away from sparsely populated rural areas. The president's planned speech for next Tuesday will be a 40-minute effort to convince a skeptical public that targeted escalation is a step toward exiting the war. Obama is expected to explain a plan to fight the Taliban, destroy al-Qaeda, and train Afghan troops to take over the fight, offering a concrete timeframe for his goals, the Washington Post reports.