Warlords and government corruption may destabilize the country even more than the Taliban, say Afghan and NATO officials. The city of Kandahar reflects this central problem of the Afghanistan war.
The battle to regain control of Kandahar from the Taliban this summer will depend more on evolving political negotiations than on a decisive military campaign. In Afghanistan, war will be conducted differently than in Iraq, say NATO officials.
An Afghanistan Taliban spokesman claimed responsibility for a series of coordinated Kandahar attacks Saturday, saying they were a warning to NATO, which will soon focus on securing Kandahar City and its approaches.
The Marjah offensive, say US and Afghan officials, is a trial run for a major push into the city of Kandahar this summer. It could be the pivotal battle of the Afghanistan war against the Taliban.
A new report links the CIA with Ahmed Wali Karzai, a influential Afghan reputed to be a drug lord. The CIA has long fought wars through such men, but does that work?
President Hamid Karzai threatened Sunday to send troops to Pakistan to fight militants themselves.