Something that yesterday’s look at the NATO/Afghan process to secure Kandahar overlooked is that one of the reasons U.S. officials have taken pains to say
Something that yesterday’s look at the NATO/Afghan “process” to secure Kandahar overlooked is that one of the reasons U.S. officials have taken pains to say that operations in Kandahar won’t look like the February invasion of Marja is that Marja isn’t going particularly well. While the insurgents do not enjoy the freedom of movement they had before February, Rajiv Chandrasekaran explores the stark fact that the population of Marja still considers the Taliban to own the night.
The initial calm after the first week of Marine arrivals into Marja now appear to look like insurgents taking a knee to study enemy tactics and then initiating contact. That persistent presence, even at reduced levels, has led residents of Marja to think twice about supporting an airlifted governance structure that, as Chandrasekaran writes, doesn’t deliver:
Before the operation, McChrystal pledged to deliver a “government in a box” that would provide basic services to the population with the hope of winning its allegiance. The box has turned out to be largely empty. Marja’s chief official, Haji Zahir, who spent four years in a German prison for attempting to murder his stepson, is regarded by some of the civilian reconstruction advisers here as an ineffective manager with a proclivity for lengthy siestas and an unwillingness to engage in the nitty-gritty of governance.
In an interview, Zahir said he is doing the best he can under trying circumstances. “This is a very difficult job,” he said.
NATO has come through with its civilian resources. The Afghan government, which NATO strategy is premised around supporting, hasn’t. “What’s missing here is the governance piece,” judges NATO’s stabilization adviser. If that doesn’t change, then the Marja operation fails. Simple as that.
Another of the metrics that U.S. officials have tossed around for Marja is the number of residents displaced by the February invasion who return home. The calculation is that people vote with their feet, and so when they feel that Marja is safe enough, they’ll demonstrate that the Taliban’s momentum has been broken. Only it’s going the other way, as residents continue to flee.
MA-Sen: A Text Message From Scott Brown
BOSTON -- Having signed up for Scott Brown’s text message service for election day, I just got this text: Are you about to have lunch? It’s a great time to
MA-Sen: 150 Conservative Bloggers Fan Out, Looking for Scandals
BOSTON -- The mysterious Election Journal blog, which first released the infamous 2008 video of two bumbling New Black Panther Party members waving nightsticks
MA-Sen: Brown Wins
BOSTON -- At 9:20, the first rumors of Scott Brown’s victory in the Massachusetts Senate race started to work around the room. A moment later, Doug Flutie
MA-Sen: 66 to 19
BOSTON -- That, via Alex Isenstadt and Josh Kraushaar, is the number that defined the Massachusetts Senate race more than anything else. From the primary
MA-Sen: Out-of-Staters for Brown
BOSTON -- A surprising discovery at yesterday’s People’s Rally in Worcester was just how many people had traveled into the state to assist, in whatever way,
MA-Sen: Loyal Democrats Grouse About Coakley
BOSTON -- A little while after noon, a steady crowd of Democratic voters streamed into the Cathedral High School Gymnasium to cast votes for their party’s
MA-Sen: Republicans Celebrate Coakley’s Gaffes in Worcester
WORCESTER, Mass. - By the way, said Curt Schilling. One more thing. I am not a Yankees fan. The overflowing crowd at Worcester’s Mechanics Hall on
Menendez, Lautenberg to Continue BP-Lockerbie Investigation
Sens. Robert Menendez and Frank Lautenberg, both New Jersey Democrats, will continue to seek details about BP’s alleged involvement in the release last year of
Net Investors Bullish on Palin’s Prospects for Staying on Ticket
Just for fun, the Internet prediction Website Intrade has opened a contract on whether Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin will be withdrawn as McCain’s running mate.
No Experience Necessary
Gov. Sarah Palin’s a middle-class hockey mom, but does that really qualify her to be vice president?