U.S. forces have driven the Taliban from most towns and villages in the strategic Helmand province of Afghanistan, leaving incoming troops with the mission of holding key areas and rebuilding the economy, Marine commanders say.
The problem with “driven” Taliban is that most of them have been driven into Pakistan. They are not “defeated.”
Still, it’s nice to see that some control is being regained. I wish we’d keep a lid on the victory talk, though. Or maybe it’s much more significant than Murdoc realizes.
Marines now control most of the major towns and villages in Helmand and are pushing the Taliban into remote areas where it will be hard for them to thrive or influence the population.
“We’re not taking a break during the winter season,” said Marine Brig. Gen. Joseph Osterman, who will lead ground combat troops in the incoming command.
Marines plan to launch an offensive to seize Marjah, the Taliban’s remaining stronghold in Helmand.
Driving the enemy into the hinterlands is a good short-term security solution. But it is not the same as defeating them. If we can buy time to build up the Afghan forces, great. If not, or if the Afghan forces simply don’t get the job done, there is no light at the end of the tunnel.
I fear that this talk of “defeating” the enemy will give people the wrong impression and create unrealistic expectations. (via Mudville)