(KANDAHAR, Afghanistan) -- The American commander of RC-South and his civilian counterpart provided a cautiously optimistic take Thursday on the fragile security gains in Kandahar and the neighboring provinces that make up RC-South.
Briefing Pentagon reporters, Maj. Gen. James Terry and Henry Ensher said that this winter they want to build on the security progress in the belts west of Kandahar City to improve governance and development projects before an anticipated Taliban offensive in the spring.
Terry said security has improved over the past six months in Kandahar as NATO forces "control the terrain" in the areas west of the city: Zhari, Panjwai, the Arghandab and Dand. He said it's "unarguable" that significant parts of those districts "were utterly under insurgent control, and now they're not. That by itself is a huge difference." That doesn't mean things are completely secure, which explains why Terry fully expects the Taliban to fight for these areas in the spring, despite things moving "in the right direction."
In general, both Terry and Ensher are encouraged by progress on the governance front, particularly in the areas west of Kandahar City that were long under Taliban Control.
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