Afghanistan Bogged Down by Distrust

The hardest fight in Afghanistan happens to be off the battlefield. The government is struggling to win the loyalty of residents even after an area is rid of Taliban leadership. That loyalty test may see its biggest challenge yet as American and Afghan forces prepare for a large offensive in Kandahar. Afghan distrust of President Hamid Karzai's government was front and center this week during the leader's visit to Washington. The situation on the ground—where only a quarter of residents in key regions view their government positively—lags behind the American timeline for Afghanistan. “People are tired of the Taliban, but they also don’t want cops to shake them down, they don’t want power brokers who are so corrupt they impact their lives and livelihood,” one senior American officer told The New York Times.