Here’s an update on the progress of the Marjah offensive, straight from the mouth of Gen. Stanley McChrystal, commander of U.S. and NATO forces in Afghanistan.
“This is a bleeding ulcer right now,” McChrystal told a group of Afghan officials, international commanders in southern Afghanistan and civilian strategists who are leading the effort to oust the Taliban fighters from Helmand.
“You don’t feel it here,” he said during a 10-hour front-line strategy review, “but I’ll tell you, it’s a bleeding ulcer outside.”
That’s from the excellent Dion Nissenbaum for McClatchy.
I’ve been working on a rather lengthy Afghanistan piece that should be out in the next couple of weeks, in which Gen. Stanley McChrytsal plays a big role. About Marjah–I’ve been hearing criticisms that the expectations were too high, and the military, in a sense, oversold its importance.
There is also the bigger strategic question: why are we fighting for Helmand? It’d be like occupying the U.S. and fighting over Arkansas. No offense, Little Rock. But, I’ve been told that even when McChrystal got to Kabul last year, and the Helmand operation had started, there were serious doubts about whether or not Helmand was worth it. Regardless, they went ahead with Marjah, thinking that it actually was an important piece of the country to take control over.