Marines face skepticism after taking Afghan town

Reuters reports:

U.S. forces who pushed the Taliban out of their main stronghold in Marjah, southern Afghanistan, have found residents there deeply skeptical of the Afghan government’s promises to rebuild, a top U.S. commander said on Thursday.

The concerns raised by Brigadier General Lawrence Nicholson, the Marine commander in southern Afghanistan, put a spotlight on the big challenge still facing U.S., NATO and Afghan forces in Marjah now that fighting has died down.

Gaining local support is key to President Barack Obama’s counterinsurgency strategy, which aims to clear the Taliban out of population centers like Marjah so President Hamid Karzai’s government in Kabul can begin taking over.

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1 thought on “Marines face skepticism after taking Afghan town

  1. Jean Pierre Gamet

    The Afghanistan war is an enormous challenge. I do wonder if it is winable.
    President Omama’s philosophy to plant the seeds of democracy there ( and in other countries ) ia worthy of praise. But can it be done ?
    Like in Vietnam the main idea is to win the hearts and minds of the local people. Fine.
    But very tough to achieve because the moment American troops live a village or an aerea
    the Taliban comes back ! Besides let us not forget that Afghanistan still lives in the middle
    ages. There are still at a tribal stage. From there to modern democracy the way is awfully
    long . As to win the war itself we know the Russians did not make it with 150.000 troops
    on the ground. The country is large and the topography is hardly suitable for normal
    warfare. Actually the Taliban is fighting a guerrilla war and it is taking a toll on U.S
    troops. To win this war the U.S would probably need a lot more boots on the ground.
    They would also need to secure the border with Pakistan in order to stop thee flow of
    weapons getting through to the Taliban . To make matters tougher the U.S cannot use
    its air power at will for fear of civilian casualties and their political consequences.
    So let us face it the odds to win this war are not particularly bright. Afhganistan is more
    likely to become a quackmire. If that happens U.S public opinion will turn agains Obama
    as it did in Vietnam . I am not a military man and I did not study “Von Lkausewitz “but
    do reckon that if an army cannot go in at full strength with all the means it has it may
    not win. Laet us trace a comparison with the Napoleonic wars ( which are studies at
    West Point ) Napoleon who was more often than not forced into waging war because
    England was constantly building up coalitions agains him had the following approach: 1) He chose when and where to strike.
    2) He always went in at full stregth ( except at Waterloo where he was outmanned and
    outgunned ) 3) He had large dificulties in Spain excactly because that war a guerrilla war !
    Then there is Pakistan which may become the next challenge.
    One thing is sure.Altough there is no Churchill to say it again Americans had better be
    prepared for “Blood, Sweat and Tears “. Unfortunately this the price to pay to be the
    world’s superpower. As to Foreign policy at large I reckon the U.S shoud change its
    policy to “react”and ‘Act” instead. In other words 1) Foresee waht may be coming. 2) Strike before it is too late. Let us not have another “Munich “for God sake.

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