One month after a US-led offensive to clear the Taliban from Marjah, Afghanistan, locals are worried less about the insurgents returning to power than about a notorious former official seeking to join the new government.
In the Marjah offensive of the Afghanistan war, a reporter hears echoes of the Soviet war.
General Stanley McChrystal said Wednesday that given the opportunity, the US would like to capture Al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden alive, appearing to contradict comments made Tuesday by Attorney General Eric Holder.
With effective PR, the US military could win the war in Afghanistan.
New rules of engagement in Afghanistan that are designed to better protect civilians will safeguard US soldiers, too.
In the next stage in the Afghanistan war, coalition forces are expected to build up gradually on the outskirts of the Taliban stronghold of Kandahar, perhaps for months. That strategy departs from the one executed in the Marjah offensive, in which troops entered quickly.
The Afghanistan economy must shift reliance off its poppy crop toward agriculture and mining. The government began a massive poppy eradication campaign this week.
Western and Afghan officials have outlined ambitious plans for a new Marjah that include erecting new schools, reforming the police force, and upending the drug trade. Rebuilding Marjah and other towns is now seen as critical to NATO's Afghanistan war strategy.
The coalition's Marjah offensive against the Taliban in Helmand Province, Afghanistan, has made gains. But to succeed, Afghanistan, the US, and aid agencies must quickly move in to build up the area's security, government, and infrastructure, showing fence-sitters the benefits of peace.
Army Gen. Stanley McChrystal and President Hamid Karzai's deputy walked the streets of Marjah Monday. With US-led forces now in control of the former Taliban stronghold in southern Afghanistan, US and Afghan officials told Marjah residents that the Taliban were gone - and life would improve.