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?”