March 1st, 2010
04:56 PM ET

Around the Web: The rebuilding effort in Marjah

Many stories about Afghanistan today and during the weekend focus on the battle in Marjah and the rebuilding effort that lies ahead.

“After the declaration this weekend that the battle for the Taliban enclave of Marja had been won, for the Marines standing behind sandbags and walking patrols, the more complicated work has begun. With it will be a test of the strategy selected by President Obama and the generals now running the Afghan war,” writes C.J. Chivers of the New York Times.

Joshua Partlow of the Washington Post reports that dangers still exist in Marjah, despite coalition and Afghan forces now largely in control of the city.

“The farmlands of Marja, once a Taliban stronghold and drug-trafficking hub, remain a treacherous place. Over the course of the two-week offensive, 5,000 Marines and Afghan soldiers have encountered hundreds of mines and homemade bombs, and the troops still plan another detailed, house-by-house clearing of the ground they've already passed through,” Partlow writes.

Tony Perry of the Los Angeles Times says some signs of “normalcy” are returning to Marjah. Perry writes that you can now find popcorn vendors on the streets of the city, “an adjacent bazaar has come back to life, and the main road into Marjah was packed with vehicles bringing residents back to their homes and farms on Saturday, the fifth consecutive day with no battles. “

Some news from the weekend: The man believed to be the suicide bomber who killed seven CIA employees and contractors last year appears in a newly released video, claiming to have tricked Jordanian intelligence officers as a double agent.

The 43-minute video, posted on various Islamic radical Web sites Saturday, shows Humam Khalil Abu-Mulal al-Balawi, whom a former U.S. intelligence official identified as the suicide bomber.

Family members have said that the man in the video, who uses the alias Abu Dajana Al-Khorasani, is al-Balawi. A much shorter version of the video was posted online in January.

Other news reports and perspectives:

- Asif Ali Zardari (Guardian): “In Pakistan, we are fighting for our lives

- Zahid Hussain (Wall Street Journal): “Pakistan blocks prisoner transfers

- Reuters: “Analysts assess Marjah offensive

- Keith Richburg (Washington Post): “In Afghanistan, U.S. seeks to fix a tattered system of justice

- Sabrina Tavernise and Waqar Gillani (New York Times): “Frustrated strivers in Pakistan turn to Jihad

soundoff (5 Responses)
  1. Mohammad A. Dar

    since when, it is illegal for CNN not to post comments, substantiated by the law and the constitution of the United States of America and historical events. Is it 'MODERATION' or censor ship, according to the desire of the so called, MODERATOR?' does the so called moderator knows the meanings of MODERATION? I think it is the problem. To solve this problem here is the solution. The word, moderation is combination of many actions, for example, MODE RA T O R. M represents, one's self, O represents the process or the way from point A to next point B, in this case DE, The is subordinated to Thee or "he" subordinated to "HE" the truth. RA meaning the Path or the WAY, T repenting in Totality and R representing the act of, the person "he". Mode being subordinated to the legality or illegality of RA, the Path. meaning, the one he, who takes the path of HE ( The Truth, our creator) to balance the issue, between two opposing arguments, on the same subject. would you be kind enough to let the viewers know about the standard adopted by CNN, in this regard.

    March 7, 2010 at 5:36 pm | Report abuse |
  2. A. Smith, Oregon

    @ ERnie Terry, the CIA has issued standing orders to not molest the Poppy Fields. In my opinion every Opium Poppy field represents enormous cash for the Taliban movement for new weapons and explosives and bribes to Afghanistan officials and clansmen.

    President Obama should ORDER the Airforce to bomb every Poppy Field thru-out Afghanistan and for the American troops to destroy every Opium Poppy field it can in a total eradication effort.

    Less than 5% of the Opium from Afghanistan's vast Opium Poppy fields would supply the entire world's need for medical Morphine supplys. Well over 95% of the Opium from Afghanistan's vast poppy fields end up killing ten's of thousands of people around the world every year in the form of cheap Heroin that is flooding the world resulting in crime and violence.

    Previous CIA involvement in the Montenyard Tribal Fighters for Opium-Heroin in Lao's, CIA involvement in the Contra Arms for Cocaine in South America, Now CIA involvement in the Taliban Arms for Opium-Heroin in Afghanistan.

    March 3, 2010 at 5:11 pm | Report abuse |
  3. ERnie Terry

    Could someone explain why the total poppy crop of Afghanistan is not bought by the NATO governments fighting in the area, the loss of drug $ would release many farmers to produce food for the Afghan population.
    All the purchased poppy crop could go straight into medicinal use world wide instead of into drug fueled violence.EST

    March 3, 2010 at 6:16 am | Report abuse |
  4. A. Smtih, Oregon

    And as the residents of Marjah slowly trickle back with NATO promises they won't call airstrkes on their caravan's back to their homes (oh, that's right that was already broken). The shake and bake Afghanistan Police force and Town Government (thugs) members will continue to restore order, right? EXCEPT the shake and bake Afghanistan members are incredibly corrupt and the residents will tell you if you listen just how corrupt they are.

    Set-up a corrupt Police force and Government, Mission Accomplished America, time to pull the troops out and come home!

    March 1, 2010 at 7:08 pm | Report abuse |
  5. sayf

    are we supposed to believe atia jan and her reporting at the ORDERS OF media masters that she works for? next you will be trying to tell us,that she is muslim! this latest propaganda campaign is just as stupid as all of the other lies that that u.s.media tell us. and until people start using their brains and start thinking for themselves,the media will continue to feed us false information and outright lies! case in point,the muslims in afganistan(the media callstaliban) more false info. there is no taliban! remember the northern alliance that fought with the u.s.,when they invaded afganistan? THEY ARE THE DRUG DEALERS! THE U.S. TURNED A BLIND EYE TO THEIR ACTIVITIES BECAUSE THEY WERE HELPING THE U.S.! SOUND FAMILIAR? NOW THAT HAS CHANGED TO THE REAL MUSLIMS SELLINGS THE DRUGS. IT WAS THE SO-CALLED TALIBAN THAT WAS FIGHTING THE NORTHERN ALLIANCES TO STOP THEIR DRUG DEALING ! U.S.. WHY DO THINK THE ALLIANCE WAS SO FAST TO HELP THE U.S.? WAKE UP PEOPLE! real muslims hate drugs and drug dealers. the penalty under islamic law is death! THE MUSLIMS IN THE U.S. COULD CURE YOUR DRUG PROBLEMS REAL FAST,BUT YOUR LAWS LIKE TO PUT THEM IN PRISON. LET THEM OUT TO KILL SOMEMORE PEOPLE! ANYONE WHO BELIEVES THAT THIS OFFENSIVE WAS A SUCCESS IS A FOOL! THESE ARE THE SAME PEOPLE THAT FOUGHT AND BEAT THE RUSSIAN ARMY. AND THEY NEVER USED THEIR PEOPLE AS HUMAN SHIELDS! AFGANISTAN AIN'T IRAQ! AND FOR THE LAST TIME, THER IS NO TALIBAN OR AL-QEADA! THESE ARE LABLES USED TO KEEP YOU CONFUSED. THESE PEOPLE ARE MUSLIMS AND THE FIGHTERS ARE MUJAHIDEEN. CALL IT FOR WHAT IT IS!

    March 1, 2010 at 5:44 pm | Report abuse |