Dexter Filkins of the New York Times reports that the “real test” in Marjah may lie after the fighting comes to end.
“For much of the past eight years, American and NATO forces have mounted similarly large military operations to clear towns and cities of Taliban insurgents. And then, almost invariably, they have cleared out, never leaving behind enough soldiers or police to hold the place on their own,” Filkins writes.
“And so, almost always, the Taliban returned — and, after a time, so did the American and NATO troops, to clear the place all over again.”
Matthew Green of the Financial Times, reporting from Afghanistan’s Arghandab valley, writes that U.S. is hoping to sap the Taliban of influence by “bringing governance to areas that have been outside the control of any administration for decades.”
“Time is of the essence: the battle to build local government from scratch in Arghandab must make progress before the traditional fighting season begins in the spring,” Green writes.
“The fate of the project will help decide whether Stanley McChrystal, the U.S. general commanding NATO forces in Afghanistan, will translate the improved security achieved in some areas by the build-up of U.S. troops into real stability, allowing the eventual exit of foreign forces.”
Some other news reports and perspectives:
- Jon Boone (The Guardian): "Afghanistan quietly brings into force Taliban amnesty law"
- Stephen Farrell (New York Times): “Marja 50 Years Ago: Model Villages and American Money”
- Cyril Almedia (Dawn): “Coming full circle”
- Ayedmir Erman (Christian Science Monitor): “How Turkey can help NATO in Afghanistan”