I don't know how seriously to take this, but I could use some good news and I guess I'll take it wherever I can find it. So here it is: Carlotta Gall reports in the New York Times that our offensive in Kandahar is going pretty well:
NATO commanders are careful not to overstate their successes — they acknowledge they made that mistake earlier in the year when they undertook a high-profile operation against Marja that did not produce lasting gains. But they say they are making “deliberate progress” and have seized the initiative from the insurgents.
Western and Afghan civilian officials are more outspoken, saying that heavy losses for the Taliban have sapped the momentum the insurgency had in the area. Unlike the Marja operation, they say, the one in Kandahar is a comprehensive civil and military effort that is changing the public mood as well as improving security.
....Apparently surprised by the intensity of the strikes on their supply routes, bomb factories and command compounds, many Taliban commanders pulled out to Pakistan, and most of the fighters have also slipped away or hidden their weapons, NATO commanders, local residents and the Taliban themselves say.
Now, "slipping away" is what insurgents always do when confronted with overwhelming force, and the question is whether we can stop them from slipping right back in. But like I said: for the moment, this sounds like good news. And who knows? Maybe Karzai can actually take advantage of it somehow. Here's hoping.