Kandahar operation to go slower than planned: US General
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Last Updated: Thursday, June 10, 2010, 18:06
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 Brussels.

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 local population.

McChrystal said military and political preparations to push back Taliban insurgents were already underway in and around Kandahar.

"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 fast."

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.


First Published: Thursday, June 10, 2010, 18:06

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