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.