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
emptywheel @JerryLMaine Yer funny.
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emptywheel @ncweaver Sure. I'm focusing more on what happened at rare head-to-head that might lead NK to go through with this?
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emptywheel @gregorylent It may not be connected (and of course, only is if NK is culprit). But why would NK's response be to immediately incite?
3mreplyretweetfavorite
emptywheel How often does top spy personally rescue Americans from 3rd rate adversary? And how often does adversary then launch most brazen incitement?
4mreplyretweetfavorite
emptywheel If people are so sure NK committed a brazen public hack of Hollywood, it'd be good idea to ask what happened on Clapper's trip in November.
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emptywheel RT @davidshepardson: .@USTreasury exits @Ally ends historic $85 billion bailout on sixth anniversary of Bush's announcement http://t.co/7Jb
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emptywheel @digby56 I'm sure its especially fun in your neighborhood. In mine, people are so used to Asian countries stealing their IP it's boring.
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emptywheel @tomwatson Worse stil, bc we don't yet actually know NK is behind this. There we at least knew who was making threats. @digby56
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emptywheel @ValeriePlame Released docs heavily focus on anti-piracy, distrib agreements, & tech. Why would NK do that? @TimothyS
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emptywheel @digby56 Liberals are not immune from stupid hysteria. Some of them even said we need torture warrants post 9/11, remember?
23mreplyretweetfavorite
emptywheel @TimothyS Which is all the more troubling given that leaked files suggest a property motive, not propaganda @ValeriePlame
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emptywheel @peterwsinger Venezuela gets no love? Arguably has been the quickest payoff, given Cuba (tho Maduro not ousted yet).
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