We Can't Take Kandahar Yet: McChrystal

NATO delays operation because locals don't want them there
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 10, 2010 10:03 AM CDT
Afghan men bury people killed in a blast in Kandahar's Argandab district Thursday, June 10, 2010.   (AP Photo/Allauddin Khan)
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(Newser) – The military push to secure Kandahar is being delayed, because the hearts-and-minds part of the operation isn’t going so well, General Stanley McChrystal revealed at a NATO meeting in Brussels today. The massive operation to take back the birthplace of the Taliban was supposed to begin this month, the Washington Post explains, but commanders haven’t been able to sell local leaders, or Kandaharis in general, on the idea, and won't go forward until they have.

“I don’t intend to hurry,” McChrystal said. “When you go to protect people, the people have to want you to protect them.” He indicated that it could be months before the operation gets under way, and that the time would also allow him to ensure that the Afghan government will be able to step in when the fighting is over. McChrystal said he was trying to learn from the mistakes made in Marjah, which turned out to be “even more complex than we thought.”

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