Alexander the Great faced fierce resistance there 2,000 years ago. In the 1980s, the Soviet army tried and failed to conquer it.

Now the Taliban has reportedly massed hundreds of troops in Arghandab district, a lush concentration of fruit groves, irrigation canals and densely packed villages, and claims it will advance next on Kandahar City just to the south.

It sounds like a nightmare scenario for Canadian forces responsible for the district. But military analysts Tuesday dismissed suggestions that a full-scale Taliban assault is in the offing, saying any attempt by the insurgents to meet NATO and Afghan troops head-on in large...

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