The video speaks for itself. General McChrystal is confident the surge he has set into motion in Afghanistan is providing results. Click on the photo. Watch the video. Reflect upon what you know, what you see, where this is going.
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.
“They’ve taken on the Taliban, the insurgency, right in the heartland and they’ve defeated them,” said Marine Maj. Gen. Richard Mills in an interview with USA TODAY.
Much of the Taliban’s leadership and support comes from the mostly Pashtun province and nearby Kandahar. Helmand, the country’s largest province, also produces most of the country’s poppy crop, which has helped fund the insurgency.
Recent attention has been focused on President Obama’s orders to send about 30,000 reinforcements to Afghanistan this year. But an influx of Marines to Helmand province last year has produced dramatic results, raising hopes that the gains can be consolidated and spread elsewhere, Mills said.
“I see us moving away from the clear phase and moving into the hold and build” phase, Mills said.
Most Afghans are increasingly optimistic about the state of their country, a poll commissioned by the BBC, ABC News and Germany’s ARD shows.
Of more than 1,500 Afghans questioned, 70% said they believed Afghanistan was going in the right direction – a big jump from 40% a year ago…
In 2009 only 51% of those surveyed had expected improvement and 13% thought conditions would deteriorate.
But in the latest survey 71% said they were optimistic about the situation in 12 months’ time, compared with 5% who said it would be worse.
The other significant theme which emerges from the figures is growing antipathy towards the Taliban.
Ninety per cent said they wanted their country run by the current government, compared with 6% who said they favoured a Taliban administration.
Sixty-nine per cent believed the Taliban posed the biggest danger to the country, and 66% blamed the Taliban, al-Qaeda and foreign militants for violence in Afghanistan.
You can read the full report here (.pdf).
I admit I’m as surprised as anyone on the Left may be over the pace of what McChrystal and Obama appear to be achieving. Unlike many of my peers, I haven’t a problem with what is at root a military solution. The superstructure of governance and infrastructure, culture and economics the two have proposed is so much more advanced and competent than what we’ve come to expect – from either our politicians or our military.
Keep it up, folks.