The “combat phase” of the battle for the Kandahar region has begun, says a spokesperson for the International Security Assistance Force (Rob Nordland, “American and Afghan Troops Begin Combat for Kandahar,” New York Times, 26 September 2010):
Code-named “Operation Dragon Strike,” the push is focusing on clearing the Taliban from three districts to the west and south of the city, said Brig. Gen. Josef Blotz, a NATO spokesman for the International Security Assistance Force in Kabul. “We expect hard fighting,” he said.
The aim, he said, would be “destroying Taliban fighting positions so they will not have anywhere to hide.”
The operation is the first large-scale combat involving multiple objectives in Kandahar Province, where a military offensive was originally expected to begin in June. That offensive was downgraded to more of a joint civil-military effort after the military encountered problems in trying to pacify the much smaller city of Marja and because of resistance from Afghan leaders concerned about the possibility of high civilian casualties. …
General Blotz said the combat phase of Dragon Strike began five or six days ago in Arghandab, Zhari and Panjwye [or Panjwai, as it tends to be spelled in Canadian reporting] districts, with “shaping operations” preceding that for several weeks.
Canadian troops, currently concentrated in the Dand, Daman, and Panjwai districts, will also be involved in the operations (Dene Moore, “New Canadian commander predicts ‘defining year’ in Afghanistan,” Globe and Mail, 9 September 2010).