Mazar-e-Sharif

Marja Serves as Microcosm of Military Failure in Afghanistan, But Failure is Country-Wide

Deputy Defense Secretary Aston Carter strolls through Marja marketplace on February 24. How many security forces were present out of camera range?

Back in February of 2010, US President Barack Obama’s surge of troops in Afghanistan began its offensive by trying to take the Marja district of Helmand Province. Then US commander of forces in Afghanistan, General Stanley McChrystal famously touted his counterinsurgency program for the area, saying “We’ve got a government in a box, ready to roll in”.

Eight months into the battle for Marja, we had this:

As U.S. involvement in the war enters its 10th year, the failure to pacify this town raises questions about the effectiveness of America’s overall strategy. Similarly crucial operations are now under way in neighboring Kandahar province, the Taliban’s birthplace.

There are signs the situation in Marjah is beginning to improve, but “it’s still a very tough fight,” said Capt. Chuck Anklam, whose Marine company has lost three men since arriving in July. “We’re in firefights all over, every day.”

“There’s no area that’s void of enemy. But there’s no area void of Marines and [Afghan forces] either,” said Anklam, 34, of Fort Lauderdale, Fla. “It’s a constant presence both sides are trying to exert.”

/snip/

The result, so far at least: Residents say the town is more insecure than ever.

“There was peace here before you came,” farmer Khari Badar told one Marine patrol that recently visited his home. “Today, there is only fighting.”

Of course, the Defense Department would have us believe everything is now fine in Marja. They staged a stroll through the marketplace back in February by a Deputy Defense Secretary, presumably to mark the two year anniversary of the offensive. I wonder if this stroll was as heavily protected as John McCain’s 2007 stroll through a Baghdad marketplace.

But even though we are supposed to believe the offensive worked in Marja and the Taliban were routed, there was this from DoD on actions from April 15 of this year: Continue reading

Emptywheel Twitterverse
JimWhiteGNV @emptywheel Sounds like he's been listening to the bogus claims of a coming Mini Ice Age.
3mreplyretweetfavorite
emptywheel @JimWhiteGNV If it's any consolation the only thing my dog appears to hear well anymore is the ice machine, which as a result terrifies him
5mreplyretweetfavorite
JimWhiteGNV Heh. We are taking out a dead pine tree. You should have heard the high-pitched scream from our horse when the tree hit the ground.
5mreplyretweetfavorite
emptywheel @jason_koebler That's what Tom Brady said. And Goodell busted him for it. @derektmead
11mreplyretweetfavorite
emptywheel Countering Violent Extremi--um, Use of Guns that works? http://t.co/YsH7Arsnon
12mreplyretweetfavorite
JimWhiteGNV RT @ahtitus: @DemFromCT how much do you think Brady had to pay Lindsey Graham to "make his phone disappear?"
38mreplyretweetfavorite
JimWhiteGNV RT @P0TUS: BREAKING: Mullah Omar is alive! (Or dead). And he wants peace! (Or war). ~MSM "Stay Tuned! We'll get it right!"
46mreplyretweetfavorite
JimWhiteGNV Two coddled, practiced, lying cheaters accuse one another of lying and cheating again. Each has exactly zero credibility. #BradyVsGoodell
48mreplyretweetfavorite
emptywheel So OPM hackers also targeted United, but if customer's United data breached it doesn't trigger notice? http://t.co/8sacPVuCs9
59mreplyretweetfavorite
JimWhiteGNV RT @keithellison: Intensity of People who support Iran Deal must go up. Opponents plan to plow in millions to kill the deal.
1hreplyretweetfavorite
emptywheel @julielyn Tom Brady should have one he's no longer using.
1hreplyretweetfavorite
July 2015
S M T W T F S
« Jun    
 1234
567891011
12131415161718
19202122232425
262728293031