Battlefield Update: Task Force Dreadnaught in Maiwand District, Kandahar
In mid-2010, the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) launched Hamkari, a series of operations in Kandahar to seize militarily key terrain from Taliban forces while simultaneously improving local governance and development throughout the province. Although the Taliban historically utilized safe havens throughout Kandahar, ISAF’s increased combat power in Hamkari enabled U.S. units to force insurgents out of their strongholds and disrupt their ability to control the population. U.S. forces held the key terrain through the past winter season and implemented programs to secure local support while undercutting the Taliban’s ability to re-infiltrate and intimidate the local population.
The improved security situation in Maiwand offers an opportunity to address governance and development challenges and begin restoring the government’s legitimacy. ISAF’s partnership with the district government has focused on strengthening its ability to deliver basic services. However, building legitimacy and trust will take time and the local government remains reliant on international funding and resources. It is therefore uncertain whether the district government in Maiwand will be able to operate independently of international security assistance and funding as U.S. troop numbers begin to decrease in 2012.