Next Target Taliban Stronghold of Kandahar
Meanwhile, Gates arrives in Afghanistan
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Mar 8, 2010 5:07 AM CST
US Defense Secretary Robert Gates, flanked by security personnel, arrives in Kabul, Afghanistan, Monday, March 8, 2010.   (Jim Watson)
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(Newser) – Preparations have begun for a crucial campaign to assert Afghan government control over Kandahar, spiritual home of the Taliban, Gen. Stanley McChrystal said today. The NATO-led force is growing in districts around Kandahar that are under the Taliban thumb, ahead of an eventual military operation, McChrsytal said, though he added that "There won't be a D-Day that is climactic."

The general spoke after Defense Secretary Robert Gates arrived in Afghanistan to check on the progress of the war's expansion. McChrystal suggested that heavy fighting in Kandahar will wait until more of the additional 30,000 troops headed to the region are in place. The fighting, when it comes, will not resemble the recent operation to retake the area around Marjah, also in southern Afghanistan. "Kandahar is much larger, much more complex," McChrystal told reporters.