November 10, 2010
The Obama Administration made much of the Kandahar offensive's success hinging on winning hearts and minds to the side of the occupation forces. As usual this goal is falling by the waysde as the military actually arrives on the scene, as civilians in the Zhari District are up in arms at the military's actions.
The district has been seen as a key target for the offensive, but locals are complaining that the US military, having occupied the district with little resistance, has proceded to bulldoze homes and farm fields en masse, with hundreds of homes destroyed and a large number of people rendered homeless.
Officials insist that the tactics are necessary because the homes are potentially being used as hiding places by insurgents, but the scorched earth tactics aren't making them any friends among the local population of the tiny farming district.
Indeed, these claims that the offensive is necessary to bring the district under control must ring hollow among locals, who have seen NATO forces occupy them no less than six times since 2001, each time claiming it was a major victory that amounted to a turning point in the war. But each time these offensives end, the troops leave, and the Taliban return. This time the locals may be quite grateful of that, as the Taliban are at least not demolishing their homes.