February 14th, 2010
11:14 AM ET

What does Marjah mean for Obama?

How will the outcome of Operation Moshtarak in Marjah affect the Obama administration? CNN Washington correspondent Kate Bolduan explains.

A lot is at stake politically. This operation is the first major offensive since President Obama announced he was committing 30,000 additional troops to fight in Afghanistan. And this can be seen as the first real test, at least, of the president's new revamped, refocused strategy in the region. He has also set a deadline to when he was to start to pull troops out of the region.

[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2010/images/02/12/art.obama.gi.jpg caption="President Barack Obama"]So, taking into consideration all of that, the stakes are very high for the president. The objective of this operation and the mission at large is really to oust the Taliban, bring stability to the country and hand over security to the Afghan people and the Afghan government, especially.

All of those things need to happen before the president can get to his ultimate goal, which is to start withdrawing troops in July 2011, and that's no easy feat, as we've seen in the past eight years.

And public support has been waning. In the most recent CNN poll that was conducted just about a month ago, the majority of Americans – 52 percent – were opposed to the war in Afghanistan.

And public relations, public support, is very important in this type of effort - getting people to understand why it matters to the American public, especially when you see their men and women who are serving over there being killed.

There's no clear answer of how the president can win back more support from the American public. It seems success in this operation and in the mission, or progress is a good step in that direction, but that is not an easy job.

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Filed under: Marjah • Obama • Operation Moshtarak
soundoff (7 Responses)
  1. Peter Jesella

    March 28th, thought Kate did a good job on State of the Union, explaining the nuances of President Obama's visit to Afghanistan. Wanted to share info below for her, and CNN family to consider, hope it is of interest. Kate's remarks about the role of NATO, in Afghanistan, and long-term exit strategy. Peter Jesella

    1 of 2 Questions presented to NATO Ambassoders few weeks ago at Commonwealth Club of California in San Francisco.

    #1 Like the history of NATO’s efforts at creating an effective alliance, can NATO support the principle of encouraging Pakistan to engage both privately and publicly in an long-term alliance with Afghanistan both on a governmental level and military alliance. Most of these activities would not reach the general publics attention, but if part of this process included an agreement between the Afghanistan government to welcome Pakistani troops in the hundreds to spend some time learning counter-terrorism training with NATO and U.S. forces this would get the attention of both the general public and the Taliban forces in both countries. Can each NATO nation that has diplomatic relations with Pakistan encourage this growing democracy to strongly consider both the private process of alliance with the Afghani government, military coordination/cooperation but also the transfer of troops to NATO and U.S. military operations for further training and future interaction with Afghani troops?

    C/O Commonwealth Club of California – San Francisco – February 25th, 2010
    Inside NATO Ambassadors Ivo Daalder Stefano Stefanini Per Poulsen-Hansen
    In conversation with Commonwealth Club President and CEO Dr. Gloria Duffy

    Bye, hope Kate and CNN family find this of interest. Peter

    March 29, 2010 at 2:55 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Devis Sri lanka

    what ever it is Do not break the moral of troops who are doing the hardest job in Afghanistan. Pray for them daily that they can reach their target with minimum civilian casualties.Pakistan has a huge army and what a shame that they can"t destroy Taliban helpers and leaders . Taliban has proved very clearly that they are not here to negotiate but for further destruction
    because that is all they know.

    February 15, 2010 at 12:15 am | Report abuse |
  3. A. Smith, Oregon

    Obviously this is the opportunity for President Obama to punch Bush jr. in the eye for Bush-Cheney's lack in adequately handling the Afghanistan offensive in 2002.

    Unfortunately, as long as the vast Opium Poppy fields remain in Afghanistan, the Taliban will be able to regroup, re-supply, re-equip and continue to issue large bribes to various warlords, clansmen and Afghanistan govt. officials. In short, there is no winning the war in Afghanistan as long as those vast Opium Poppy fields remain intact in Afghanistan which to the Taliban represent a major cash machine for their future operations.

    February 14, 2010 at 6:39 pm | Report abuse |
  4. SignBoss in Florida.

    At least about the political part. 🙂 People have already sided with or against the President on most of the issues. They did that with their vote. If it weren't for the wing nut politicians, on both sides of the aisle, much more progress could have been made in executing the voters will that first year. Remember “ YES WE CAN “ ? We have a system for change and it's going to take longer than a year to recover from many poorly conceived and unattended plans of the previous administration if they even had a plan. This is “the first real test, at least, of the president's new revamped, refocused strategy in the region and the results are yet to be seen. However it is a strategy, or he would have called it the fix or the end of the conflict. If it doesn't fulfill all the military objectives I would be surprised. If after listening to all sorts of proposals, the President has followed a strategy formulated by supposed experts and it doesn't succeed , then we will just revise the strategy.

    One last comment regarding “He has also set a deadline to when he was to start to pull troops out of the region.” The proposed deadline for troop withdrawal is just that PROPOSED! Somehow that adjective always seems to be left out by some authorities!

    February 14, 2010 at 2:31 pm | Report abuse |
  5. IdeaCanon

    This can either be Obama's Vietnam, Iraq or Bosnia. Nither of these options are good for his administration, however, he has got to end this war.

    February 14, 2010 at 1:11 pm | Report abuse |
  6. MTR

    Why should anyone care how the operation will "affect the administration?" The question should be "how will it affect the war in Aghanistan?" Obama likes to make everything about him. Please don't help him with an article like this.

    I say KUDOS to Obama for actually growing a pair and defying the left in perpetrating this much needed action in Afghanistan. I do agree that Bush dropped the ball when it came to Afghanistan and now we have to do our own version of the surge. I hope it works.

    But I also heard that we let the Taliban know we were coming in order to reduce civilian casualities. How stupid! At the same time we gave the Taliban time to get the heck out of there. No one we had very little resistance. Most of them went over the border into Pakistan. People, the administration has to stop being PC. THIS IS WAR, not a game of stick ball. War kills! War destroys! That's the purpose of war. It's a dirty mess, but the only way you'll end it is by KILLING THE ENEMY!

    So as much as the reports are showing we had success yesterday, don't go sitting on our laurels yet. WE have to start engaging in war in the way it was meant to be fought. You don't tell the enemy you are coming!!!

    If this is to be the continued tactic that Obama plans to use, we will only be seeing the Taliban moving locations all over the country and we thinking we are actually winning when no one's there to play with us. This makes Americans look like idiots. And we're not! We just have idiots for commanders.

    February 14, 2010 at 12:04 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Dan Nelson Lafayette,IN

    I think the President is doing the right thing in Afghanistan by making sure that the Taliban do not come back with bringing in Afghan security forces after they kill and remove the Taliban from the area. But to say that we will be out of Afghanistan by July 2011 is a bold statement. Will we have found binLaden and Zawahari by then? Before we leave we need to be sure of our objective in Afghanistan and that was to kill and/or capture binLaden and his right hand man!

    February 14, 2010 at 11:30 am | Report abuse |