February 18th, 2010
07:07 PM ET

Around the Web: Marjah after the battle

Preparations are underway for the next phase of the operation in Marjah – installing an effective government - report Matthew Rosenberg and Michael M. Phillips of the Wall Street Journal.

“It's also the phase with the most uncertain prospects. The Taliban was able to easily take Marjah more than two years ago because the government's authority there was weak, and what little existed was often corrupt and predatory,” Rosenberg and Phillips write.

“’Phase 2’ is to begin in coming days when the new top administrator of the town, sub-district governor Haji Zahir, is put in place along with a team four American ‘mentors’ who work for the U.S. State Department and the U.S. Agency for International Development, said Frank J. Ruggiero, the senior U.S. civilian representative in southern Afghanistan.”

The New York Times’ Rod Nordland reports that the United Nations will not be a part of a rebuilding effort in Marjah.

“Senior United Nations officials in Afghanistan on Wednesday criticized NATO forces for what one referred to as “the militarization of humanitarian aid,” and said United Nations agencies would not participate in the military’s reconstruction strategy in Marja as part of its current offensive there” Nordland reports.

“’We are not part of that process, we do not want to be part of it,’ said Robert Watkins, the deputy special representative of the secretary general, at a news conference attended by other officials to announce the United Nations’ Humanitarian Action Plan for 2010. ‘We will not be part of that military strategy.’”

Some other news reports and perspectives:

- Max Fisher (The Atlantic): “The Pakistani general who could save or doom Afghanistan

- Rajiv Chandrasekran (Financial Times): “Marjah inroads slowed by new bombs

- Lara M. Dadkhah (New York Times): “Empty skies over Afghanistan

- Joshua Partlow (Washington Post): “Afghans greet Marjah offensive with anger, hope

- Tom Malinowski (Daily Beast): “Capture or kill?”

soundoff (9 Responses)
  1. Nathanael [desert voice]

    Sarah Chayes, the adviser to Gen. McChrystal, is up to something when she talks about "changing legislature, not individuals" in Afghanistan's government of President Karzai. This is the best kept secret in today's world! The wealthy, who "legislature," when accused of something, do not replace themselves, but "change legislature"! I have observed the very same thing going on now in Europe, so it's not just Afghanistan! Every time a person complains against the system or an office, the person who is complained against is never replaced. Instead, he or she wears the complainers down by forcing them to waste time ad money on complaints, and if they still keep complaining, the persons complained against promise "some legislative change" which never happens! But the idea of "replacing the persons complained against" is non-existent in today's Europe and in Central Asia, especially Afghanistan! I commend Ms. Chayes' for her perspicacy!

    February 24, 2010 at 5:50 am | Report abuse |
  2. A. Smith, Oregon

    Although I completely believe the Muslim women were suffering tremendously under the Taliban rule in Afghanistan. America has done absolutely nothing whatsoever to educating the Afghani Muslim women, training them in self-defense and giving them small arms weapons for protection.

    The Afghanistan residents and specifically those in Marjah when honestly asked have repeatedly and clearly stated they felt safer and more protected by the Taliban than at any time by the corrupt Afghanistan Govt. and their police goons whom the Afghanistan residents repeatedly state to all that listen demand bribes, steal from their stores and trade goods and is ripe with graft and corruption. The Afghanistan residents DO NOT feel safer being protected by the Afghanistan police and Govt. officials than under the Taliban.

    No number of machine guns and Afghanistan Govt. troops are going to force the Afghanistan people to support the corrupt Afghanistan Govt. No amount of kidnapping and killing of Afghanistan's critics of the Afghanistan Govt. by the CIA is going to change that.

    February 22, 2010 at 1:04 am | Report abuse |
  3. Paul Percy

    Daniel, you are right about one thing and one thing only, the people of southern Afghanistan are suffering gravely because the Taliban have been ruling over them with an iron fist for many years. We are there to help restore a normal life for these people. You obviously have no idea about what you are talking about or else you would know that the Taliban hide behind children when doing battle so our "godless drones" wont rip them apart and you would also know that the Taliban set mines and ied's all through the towns and roads and have no control over who those ied's kill, if its NATO forces or local civilians. Imagine your wife or husband driving to work and blow up, nothing to bury because the explosion has vaporized them . . . welcome to Helmand Province.

    February 21, 2010 at 12:36 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Dan Nelson Lafayette,IN

    Operation Moshtarak which means together and we, the NATO forces and Afghan security are fighting the Taliban and al Qaeda that want to kill the forces who want bring Afghanistan in the 21st century to a new way to govern where the people of Afghanistan want freedom and democracy! They are sick of war and do not want a government that is ruled by a people that want to live in the 6th century where only the Taliban's fighters want control over the people so that they adhere to their sharia laws which is not Christlike and has no care for freedom and democracy where the people have a voice in how their people want to live

    February 21, 2010 at 10:55 am | Report abuse |
  5. Daniel

    I see how the news media,the government and the military are having a huge field day over their"glorious victory'.One would think that killing people was the most prodigious thing one could accomplish in the whole wide world.It never ceases to amaze over how they did it' with all that weaponry and those godless drones.I guess that President Barack Obama is quite happy about it while the people in southern Afghanistan are suffering gravely.

    February 21, 2010 at 3:57 am | Report abuse |
  6. Dan Nelson Lafayette,IN

    If Obama would rather kill the Taliban and al Qaeda than capture them would be a good thing otherwise they will be back to continue their jihad!

    February 19, 2010 at 7:26 am | Report abuse |
  7. Nathanael [desert voice]

    "Quiet, devout young man who studied with remarkable focus and discipline." Whose portrait is this? No other than the would-be bomber's of the Detroit bound flight 253. That description shows the nature of the beast we are dealing with in central Asia. Apparently, our enemies and counterparts are all saints, so saintly, that even in America such can't be found. That is what is perplexing about Islam, Pakistan, and Taliban. How can we find a common language with "saints" that bomb women and children, cut their perceived enemies' heads with rusty kitchen knives, flog by our standards innocent girls, and explode airplanes against high-rise buildings? I think that these Afghan "saints" need a strong government of their own. It has to be a government with a powerful army, trained by "saints" from India. I don't think that this is an American task in the long run. Central Asia is not ready for democracy, not in the next 20 years! Let's play a supervisory role at best, while they grow up!

    February 19, 2010 at 6:23 am | Report abuse |
  8. A. Smith, Oregon

    Interesting, the embedded reporter stated, 'government's authority there was weak, and what little existed was often corrupt and predatory' was the excuse for invading Marjah 2 years ago.

    The entire Afghanistan Govt. appears weak, corrupted and many Afghanistan business's state the Afghanistan Govt. is predatory if bribe payments are not made on a regular basis. And after 7 years, this is who America climbed into bed with, President Karzi and his Opium exporting brother?

    Even as this invasion of a ghost town (Marjah) takes place a second time, it appears the CIA is killing off as many of President Karzi's vocal critics as they can find now. Do they actually think that would or could extend President Karzi's grip on Afghanistan the moment American troops pull out next year?

    February 19, 2010 at 2:40 am | Report abuse |
  9. Kolawole Ajao

    What next do we do after we are done with cleansing Marjah?

    February 18, 2010 at 11:20 pm | Report abuse |