Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Will Bush Lose Kandahar to Taliban Offensive?

From The Sydney Morning Herald:
THE Taliban destroyed bridges and planted mines in villages outside Kandahar, the biggest city in southern Afghanistan, residents and officials said yesterday, after hundreds of fighters swarmed into the strategically important district in an apparent push for control and preparation for battle.

More than 700 families had fled the Arghandab district 15 kilometres north-west of Kandahar, said Sardar Mohammad, a police officer at a checkpoint on the Arghandab River. "Last night the people were afraid, and families on tractors, trucks and taxis fled the area. Small bridges inside the villages have been destroyed," he said.

In response to the Taliban's move, the Afghan Army yesterday flew four planeloads of soldiers from the capital, Kabul, to Kandahar. NATO's Canadian forces have also been redeployed in preparation for possible conflict.

Fleeing villagers said NATO troops had dropped leaflets by air warning people to leave the district.

Agha Lalai Wali, an official with the government-sponsored Peace and Reconciliation Commission in Kandahar, said the Taliban had surged into the area on Sunday, setting up several checkpoints.
Heck of a job of "Peace and Reconciliation"...