Military officials: Taliban set to push back hard in spring offensive

Security improved and the game plan now is to hold the territory, giving the Afghan government and international community an opportunity to rush in development and bolster governance to win the loyalty of the citizens.

No one knows if the troops can maintain their current grip on the area.

The Taliban are outgunned by the thousands of Afghan and coalition forces in Kandahar province, but just one targeted killing — like the assassination of the deputy governor of Kandahar — is a psychological setback to pro-government troops…

“It’s not just our side against their side, there’s the population in the center — many of whom are sitting on the sidelines waiting to see who is going to come out on top,” he said at Camp Nathan Smith, a U.S.-run base on the outskirts of the city.