Brussels: The commander of NATO forces in
Afghanistan, General Stanley McChrystal, said on Thursday that a
pivotal operation in the southern Kandahar province will move
at a slower pace than initially planned.
"I do think it will happen more slowly than we
originally anticipated," McChrystal told reporters in
His forecast echoed comments by his deputy in southern
Afghanistan, indicating that the Kandahar area is presenting a
bigger challenge than NATO commanders had expected, amid a
shortage of Afghan security forces and scepticism among the
McChrystal said military and political preparations to
push back Taliban insurgents were already underway in and
"But it`s my personal assessment that it will be more
deliberate than we... thought earlier or communicated."
The four-star US general and other senior officers had
previously said operations around Kandahar -- the birthplace
of the Taliban -- would climax up this month with an influx of
American forces, but have begun scaling back their statements.
The commander said it will "take a number of months
for this to play out."
"But I don`t think that`s necessarily a bad thing. I
think it`s more important we get it right, than we get it
Brigadier General Ben Hodges, head of US forces in the
south, told a news agency the offensive in outlying districts of
Kandahar city could be delayed by two or three months.