February 13th, 2010
09:17 AM ET

Your view: Keeping Marjah clear of Taliban

The goal of Operation Moshtarak is to force the Taliban from Marjah to free the opium-rich province of Taliban influence and drug traffickers. It's an example of a U.S. strategy to focus on population centers and separate the Taliban from Afghan civilians. And, the ultimate test of the effort is what happens after the offensive.

Two questions observers have been asking are will the Afghan forces and government be able to maintain control and generate the allegiance of the citizenry? And, will the Afghan authorities be able to provide farmers an alternative to growing the poppy that pervades the region?

What do you think? If the offensive rids the area of Taliban, can the area remain Taliban-free?

Filed under: Operation Moshtarak • Your View
soundoff (43 Responses)
  1. Daniel

    What freightens me the most is that the NATO troops will succeed!After all,does one believe a bank robber should hold on to the money he took in a bank robbery?Of course not!But this is one example how the bad guys sometimes finish last which is sadly true.

    February 18, 2010 at 7:45 am | Report abuse |
  2. Torben Schmidt

    To Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan. Stop your stupid propaganda. We're enlightened people, cannot be fooled, and know exactly what's going on there firsthand. And you're losing bigtime, not only militarily, but also to the Afghan people, who want to get rid of your cruel and oppressive regime

    February 17, 2010 at 2:18 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Eric

    Invitation of the Islamic Emirate to (independent) Journalists to Visit Marjah Tuesday, 16 February 2010. Since the enemy have forced the international media through coercion and cash incentives to make partial reporting about (the current fighting) to make it possible to hide their shameful defeat in the Marjah area of Nad Ali district, Helmand province, therefore, the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan requests all independent mass media outlets of the world to send their reporters to Marjah; see the situation with their own eyes and convey the facts to the public of the world. Such visit will portray the ground realities and will show who have the upper hand in the area; what are the facts and who control vast areas of Marjah? In fact, the invading forces have made no spectacular advancement since the beginning of the operations. They have descended from helicopters in limited areas of Marjah and now are under siege. The invaders are not able to come out of their ditches. Wherever they intend to move, they come under severe attacks of Mujahideen and face explosions of planted mines. Then they retreat hastily. The enemy troops have lost their morale. The local people are beholding the foreign troops crying loudly. If the coalition invading forces give permission to independent reporters, they will unearth many secrets. Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan

    February 17, 2010 at 7:36 am | Report abuse |
  4. ERM

    We're in a war without borders. What we are now doing in Afgaintan is the 'clean-up process'. We shouldn't deviate from the primary objective which is to disable the enemy. If we incorporate the 'cleaning-up process' we are looking here on a 'never-ending war'.

    February 16, 2010 at 6:38 am | Report abuse |
  5. david shargel

    when will the world learn that afghanistan is a lost cause and that there is nothing there that the world wants or can use. only junkies want what they grow and export. afghanistan has never been conquerd and never will be and why anyone would want to {except junkies} is beyond me. to waste one more human life on this god forsaken country would be a huge mistake.

    February 15, 2010 at 5:00 pm | Report abuse |
  6. John Taylor

    In my opinion we have an obligation to the world, our armed forces are the best. What gave you your freedom? People fighting for it and now when other people are opressed, tortured, and murdered for stuff we do every day its wrong to do something about it. The taliban are a threat not just to the United States but to the entire world. As a country that has fought hard for what we have how can we just sit back while these countries suffer. we did not become the country that we are today by turning our back to the world. People talk about civilian casualties, but what people are ignorant to is that corrupt governments imprison their own people for just doing what im doing right now voicing my opinion. How many civilians were killed on 9/11, how many civilians are killed in bombings in other countries. Do you honestly think if we didnt do anything at all that the world would just fix itself. These people will never be able to take control of their own country without being taught.

    February 15, 2010 at 1:31 pm | Report abuse |

    The USA should not have troops in Afghanistan et al around the globe. We need not be cop-for-the-world. Solution to the USA drug problem will not be solved there.

    February 15, 2010 at 12:10 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Frank Mujica

    Money spent on letting them know of operation before hand was a waste, should have been a surprise. they left and will return after we are gone. What a dump operation. Nothing accomplished but spent some money instead of killing the bad guys.

    February 15, 2010 at 11:03 am | Report abuse |
  9. bms

    The Us and it's Allies in Afghanistan lacked any Strategic Direction in their Strategy uptill now.Their Strategic Direction to empower Afghan Government appears to be suitable.In order to implement this strategy critical spaces have to be wrested from Taliban and given to Afghan National Government and be available to them in a Transition phase.Helmand is one such Critical Space in Southern Afghanistan.It's control will demonstrate the efficacy of this Strategy. The US and it's Allies will have to select such critical spaces in Eastern And Central Afghanistan for complete success of this strategy.This is the Strategy Pakistan is following in regaining control in it's Tribal Area.Regards....bms pakistan

    February 15, 2010 at 7:33 am | Report abuse |
  10. Nadeem Zafar

    Have we ever seen Taliban fighting back in an operation of this magnitude? They won't. They will simply disappear in mountains, camouflage themselves in civilians or something, and wait for an opportunity to hit back. It's not a fight against an army. This needs surgical treatment, not anything like Operation Mushtarik. Not at all.

    February 15, 2010 at 5:39 am | Report abuse |
  11. Torben Schmidt

    To The SignBoss. A Terrific idea you got there with buying the poppies poppies. A win-win situation. Afterwards we should then donate them wheat seeds to start anew.

    February 15, 2010 at 5:20 am | Report abuse |
  12. Scipione

    it is a waste of time and lives. Afghans have to win in Afghanistan not foreign forces. We have to stay there for decades allowing afghans to move forward and ready to support them wherever necessary.

    February 15, 2010 at 4:34 am | Report abuse |
  13. John

    As reported so far by CNN, the Marjah Taliban have (quite sensibly) withdrawn prior to the US attack. Big destruction in the city, but small number of dead civilians (that we know about so far).

    This will be reported by CNN and the rest of the media as a big success story.

    What will receive less attention is the aftermath of no Afghan government follow up, the departure of US troops, and back to the pre-attack situation.

    What is so ludicrous about this war is that we are trying to "afghanize" it. Before we invaded the country, the war was already Afghanized.....except that our favored Afghans were not winning, but instead losing.

    Articles have also been surfacing recently (Google "Gareth Porter") pointing out that the Taliban did not approve OBL planning any attacks on the US from AFghanistan, and that OBL and the Taliban were somewhat at odds.

    My god, even if they weren't at odds, 9/11 should not have been treated as a green light for invasion and occupation of Afghanistan and then Iraq.

    Continuing this war will result in more dead on all sides. Is that really the way to honor the memories of those already fallen>

    Perhaps it will take the availability of predator drone technology to our opponents in these wars to persuade the knuckleheads in Washington to re-evaluate their strategy.

    Let's get out, now. Send the Afghan's 300 million in reparations, and let them figure things out themselves.

    February 15, 2010 at 1:03 am | Report abuse |
  14. Adam

    I think we have the chance to cut out a huge portion of the opium trade. A problem around the world. Yet know one has been talking about how many civilians lives that could save. We talk about 12 people that died in a WAR zone. As a three tour war vet I get tiered of seeing a small story undermine the overall mission. You are just playing into there propaganda.

    February 14, 2010 at 8:53 pm | Report abuse |
  15. The SignBoss in Florida.

    We the public don't have enough information to evaluate the answer, but if the coalition forces remain, or the Afgans can handle the security and the Afgan government stops being so damn corrupt, anything is possible.
    Here's a novel idea. I bet a dollor that if we were to purchase the poppy crop and pay the Afgan farmer eactly what the taliban pay them and then destroy the evil crop right there, we could make a difference. We would be doing everyone a great favor, we would aid the war on drugs, we would cut funds to the taliban, we would help the local farmers financially and make them our new friends.This would be alot cheaper and accomplish what needs to be accomplished. I doubt the Afgan farmers are paid very much from the taliba. This would go along way in slowing down the corruption in the Afgan government if this were done for every poppy field in Afganistan.

    February 14, 2010 at 6:42 pm | Report abuse |
  16. kadar

    Your view: Keeping Marjah clear of Taliban

    The goal of Operation Moshtarak is to force the Taliban from Marjah to free the opium-rich province of Taliban influence and drug traffickers. It's an example of a U.S. strategy to focus on population centers and separate the Taliban from Afghan civilians. And, the ultimate test of the effort is what happens after the offensive.

    Two questions observers have been asking are will the Afghan forces and government is able to maintain control and generate the allegiance of the citizenry?

    Answer: It is less likely since Afghan government is lacking the skills to transform life of citizenry! Mostly ministers and the government based on patronage to its network! Unless, the masses see the difference in their lives generating alliance is out of question!

    And, will the Afghan authorities be able to provide farmers an alternative to growing the poppy that pervades the region?

    No, for an observer it is clear! There has to be alternative system that can sustain needs. Here Afghan authorities are struggling on all counts:

    • Poor governance
    • Corruption
    • Lacking skills and funding
    • Most importantly lacking political influence on phastun

    What do you think? If the offensive rids the area of Taliban, can the area remain Taliban-free?

    Answer: Temporarily large scale offensive will clear the area- Mostly Taliban forces will retreat and melt into dense populations for a right time. It is less likely that area will remain Taliban-free! However, If Afghan government, somehow reinvent itself during this opportunity and transform Afghan economy to provide relief that may work but very small window of opportunity!

    February 14, 2010 at 3:16 pm | Report abuse |
  17. hoorah

    Back in the early 2000's, a withdrawal would have been feasible. Now we are 9 years, 900+ casualties, and billions of dollars into this war. A withdrawal at this point should be, and will be, out of the question. Brothers, sisters, siblings, kids, and parents will be lost. So will innocent Afghans. This is war. Leaving and allowing the Taliban to resurge and take over governmental authority here would have worldwide implications. This is not some "local street gang." They are smart, they will die for their cause, and they fight guerilla-style warfare. I support every one of my Marine and coalition counterparts on their march to rid the region of tyrrany.

    February 14, 2010 at 2:31 pm | Report abuse |
  18. perry lee fisher

    Those so called enemy combatants are merely sheep farmers.Those ,so called, combatants will never pose a risk to the USA.There is no objectivity in American troops being in Afghanastan.Alas, they will suffer the same outcome as that enacted in Vietnam.The reason being quite simple,the Afghans are in this for the long haul and the Americans are in this for the short haul.The Taliband will regroup after the Americans leave.The only solution to this is a permanant American occupation of Afghanistan.

    This problem is being promulgated by the USDeptartment Of State in that long,long ago they should not have given visas to those from all Islamic countries and to those of Mid Eastern origins

    February 14, 2010 at 2:18 pm | Report abuse |
  19. DeMel

    The NATO strategy is doomed to fail in the absence of adequate troops to permanently hold the territory. Can the Afghan army hold the territory? Unlikely, as they are not well motivated. The right strategy is to reduce the number of militants in Afghanistan till the ratio of NATO and pro-Government troops become at least ten times the number of militants. Only this strategy succeeded in eliminating terrorism in Sri Lanka.

    February 14, 2010 at 1:16 pm | Report abuse |
  20. Joe Serratore

    How does any accomplishment happen in this latest offensive when Civlians are killed? What isthe price of one innocent person killed by NATO forces? 10 were were recenyly reported killed so far, this is again a losing battle. And the consequences of more terrorist actions against this is to be expected.
    So the question of this operation will be mute.

    February 14, 2010 at 12:47 pm | Report abuse |
  21. Harley Roy

    To once again quote my old Australian father " only a fool urinates against the wind!!!

    February 14, 2010 at 12:18 pm | Report abuse |
  22. Michael

    Continue full force.
    You might want to concentrate and stop all Herion pushers in the US and the rest of the world also.Every time a pusher sells his dope to the dopes that buy it they are giving money back to the Taliban.

    February 14, 2010 at 11:59 am | Report abuse |
  23. Michael

    Success in Afganistan 101, 1.Offer these people something better than what they have.2. Packistan needs to get off it's dead ass and support the efforts of the Coaliltion forces.Gee that was simple.Next problem.

    February 14, 2010 at 10:11 am | Report abuse |
  24. Luis

    I remember that when the Taliban collapsed, Mula Omar, the head of the Taliban ran away to that area and the US never went into that area. I suppose that the area is a the major Command, control and communications center of the Taliban and the coalition is beheading it.

    My best wishes to all the soldiers and hope for their well being!

    February 14, 2010 at 7:15 am | Report abuse |
  25. David

    This offensive is a step in the right direction and on completion of it the Coalition forces will go from strength to strength in achieving what is necessary to rid the Taliban from Afghanistan.

    February 14, 2010 at 7:14 am | Report abuse |
  26. futuraprez

    comment 5's the truest.

    i just want to comment on the military asking for more funds and Pres. Obama's reply. People are down-talking him now and all that stuff. But he's 100% right, you cannot compare this war to any of our previous, it doesn't compete. Some of our "modern day soldiers" are doing it with a sense of career. Man, if our army keeps complaining the white house might just solely depend on our marines. I dont think the concept of honor is truly taught or passed on to our younger generation of soldiers. Bottomline, We can't get sloppy and standards have to be upholded as all eyes are on us.

    February 14, 2010 at 6:58 am | Report abuse |
  27. John

    I think we should pull out immediately of this and every other conflict.
    1. We cannot afford it.
    2. If we use our troops and spend our money defending America at home we will be better off.
    3. If we are not involved in conflicts overseas we will be less likely to offend terrorists and they in turn will leave us alone.
    4. America is not safer because of our previous wars, we would have been better off if we did not participate in any of them.
    5. This will ecome Obama's war and the next president will change course because this was not a good move.

    February 14, 2010 at 2:41 am | Report abuse |
  28. Go get um!

    No – unfortunately our children's sacrifice will be for nothing, because after the wonderful job our Troops will do – then our idiot politiicans in Washington will go undo it all. Just like they did the last time we took the same area. Obummer will have holder issue $100M budgets to put each of the captured on trial here in the US – most likely Disney World this time. Then they will turn on our hero sons that are fighting, and look for several to single out and court martial after one of these captured accuse them of giving them a boo boo.

    I told my son to shoot to kill – take no prisoners. Anyone standing will be treated like royalty by our absentee commander in chief.

    February 14, 2010 at 12:49 am | Report abuse |
  29. Torben Schmidt

    To 1,4 & 8. The general idea, is not to reform afghan culture, but to rid afghanistan of the taleban, so it will no more be a safe-heaven for terrorists as al queda, so we, in the west, will be more safe from attacks. That's politics, yes, but in a positive way for us. This can't be done, without NATO's fighting them out, and replaces taleban governance, with the regular elected afghan governance. And as soon as security is established in a place, the much needed civilian build-up program can start, to the benefit of all afghans. When presented with a better alternative, the peace-hungry afghans will surely turn their backs to the taliban

    February 13, 2010 at 11:36 pm | Report abuse |
  30. james barber

    This is just another political war. Its the rule of science that when you press something it spreads out. Similarly in this matter taliban and all the bad guys probably will not sit around to face the most powerful and well equipped military in the world. We will gain control of this place but Then comes the question who will police and govern that place.

    That is where afghan government comes in to the play. Who are thugs and drug dealers in the first place.

    Actually if you see who is benefiting from all this war on terror thing?

    Afghan and pakistan government are the beneficiaries. Because as long as this war on terror will go on they will get billions of dollars AID from The USA. These government dont even care about their own people they will never be faithful to our peace and security.

    We have best men and women in our military who are working day and night for the freedom of The USA.

    But lets cut the billion of dollars we are giving to afghan and pakistan government and lets put that money in strengthning our security infrastructure. If we want to impower someone it should be poor hard working people. Poor working people are the same no matter wht religion or country they are from.

    only politician are the f**k up everywhere.

    February 13, 2010 at 10:10 pm | Report abuse |
  31. John

    The entire goal of "separating the Taliban from the people" is ridiculous. The Taliban are the people, not a separate army living on bases.

    Another proclaimed goal is "winning the hearts and minds" of the people. This operation will probably destroy a substantial portion of the city. Not a great way to win hearts and minds. Additionally, since the operation has been widely publicized, the US troops will probably treat all who did not leave as enemy combatants - that is, Marjah will be a "free fire" zone. The ensuing wanton killing of the residents probably won't help them love US forces or the Afghan government.

    As for the Afghan government, everyone knows it can't deliver "services" outside the Kabul city limits. To think that this will happen in Marjah is as rational as belief in the tooth fairy.

    This war is pointless. The time to withdraw is now.

    February 13, 2010 at 9:36 pm | Report abuse |
  32. John

    If the politicians would keep their noses out of the military's objective this war would have been over with a long time ago. Just like Nam, the politicians keep getting involved and don't do this or don't do that. All they do is cause more loss of life. LET THE MILITARY DO THEIR JOB!!!!

    February 13, 2010 at 9:30 pm | Report abuse |
  33. keith

    How come we can't see the flag drapped caskets coming back from the war zone? We seem to have stopped the count everyday also. What gives? Shouldn't we be putting the President on trial for war crimes? Boy times have changed in a year. We are nothing but war mongers!!!

    February 13, 2010 at 9:02 pm | Report abuse |
  34. Christina

    It can, only if there is good strong, non-corrupt government established and the people of Afghanistan want to be free of the "bullies"(Taliban). The innocent are being controlled by the Taliban. I strongly respect each others religion, except for those that believe they have the orders from their god to "murder" those that don't believe the way they do. They need a strong non-corrupt government, one that the Afghan people can believe in. Education is crucial as well. The Religious conflicts need to cease between the different groups, they need to come together to create this non-corrupt government. Believe in themselves as a nation, not separate entities, Crime will never cease totally, but it can be controlled and kept at a minimum. There are good and bad in every society, everywhere. It can be done, IF, that is what the people of Afghanistan really want!

    February 13, 2010 at 5:59 pm | Report abuse |
  35. Emmad

    Many are saying that this war is a waste of time but this is not a waste of time. If the U.S. withdraws from Afghanistan, the Taliban will rise and turn all the hard work into a waste of time.

    February 13, 2010 at 3:47 pm | Report abuse |
  36. ronvan

    Comments 1 & 4 are more in line with my thoughts. For us to think that we are going to change anything in these countries is just false hope. Thier history, culture, beleifs are deeply imbeded in all of them! While they smile at you and shake your hand during the day, they snipe and plant I.E.D.'s at night! Political wars/conflicts, whatever you want to call them only result in military casualties! Now, we are so desperate to look good we have TV coverage & briefings of an offensive, even before it starts! WHY not just burn all the poppy fields? Politics, Politics!!

    February 13, 2010 at 11:54 am | Report abuse |
  37. Jeff Crocket in New Britain Ct

    We know how to do this and are training Afghans as we go!

    This will be a significant victory!! Semper fi to all!!

    If you doubt that, just know that our soldiers and marines are the best and have done this in Iraq many times – Fallujah, Ramadi!!

    February 13, 2010 at 11:43 am | Report abuse |
  38. daffy22

    Will jauraz ,mexico ever be free of the drug cartel.

    February 13, 2010 at 11:42 am | Report abuse |
  39. Jim Sempek

    I am disturbed this morning about all the information being given to the Taliban about our stratigies and movements in the operations areas. In my days in the service "Loose Lips Sink Ships", we were all aware of what one loose combat secret could do. Now, every news media in the World are disclosing what our forces are doing and where they are going. IUD's can be set in these criticle areas and death is the only option. It's time to burn the opium fields with napalm and hold back on the information as to where we are going. Report only on what we have done.

    February 13, 2010 at 11:31 am | Report abuse |
  40. Rafael A. Grimaldo

    I do not think the area will be free of Taliban, because of the opium field, and the Taliban are civilian armed and they will return soon or later even with more supporters. What the coalition force need is an air attack to the hill around the Marjah town and the coalitions forces in the townsites, and any civilian armed is a civilian death.

    February 13, 2010 at 10:27 am | Report abuse |
  41. Joyce

    Maybe the Afghan farmers are not like their counterparts in Columbia and Mexico. Let's hope for the best.

    February 13, 2010 at 10:23 am | Report abuse |
  42. LEMPEREUR serge

    je pense que les talibans s installeront dans un autre endroit et ils recommenceront

    February 13, 2010 at 10:00 am | Report abuse |
  43. G. Ducker

    We, the 'West" are wasting our time, money and lives on a backward people who still do 'honour' killings. They have been fighting among each other for a thousand years. Even while we are there they hide their women under blankets. This is progress? Best way to combat therse types is to isolate them in their own back yard and stop allowing islamists to emigrate.

    February 13, 2010 at 9:54 am | Report abuse |