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February 22, 2010
U.S. and allied forces dig in for long haul in Helmand

U.S. soldiers stay warm in Helmand. Photo: USArmy on Flickr

General David Petraeus, the commander who oversees the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, said yesterday that the Marjah battle was the opening salvo in a broader campaign to turn back the Taliban, which could last 12 to 18 months.

On NBC’s “Meet the Press,” he described the Taliban as both “formidable” and “a bit disjointed at this point.”

Can the U.S., its NATO allies and Afghan forces gain the upper hand on the Taliban over the next year?

Tell us what you think in the comments section below. Please be respectful and on-point. Malicious or offensive comments will be deleted, and repeat offenders will be banned.

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It doesn’t matter, Israel will be in battle with the rest of the middle east,WW111, nukes will be flying everywhere, iran, etc…you say we are not at war, tell that to the soldiers on 3,4,5, tours in conflict areas.war is hell, contact is a mother you know what


Finally, the US has a policy that will let the Taliban return to help govern Afganistan and let American and Nato Troops come home. President Obamas’ peace Prize may in the end been well deserved. They are just people trying to survive. Withdrawing with a stable government in place and without being defeated is victory to the history writers and is far superior to losing this protracted and unending war. It was not Afganistan terrorists who attacked US on 9/11. They were Saudi Arabian terrorists. We should hold no grudge against Afganistan, bury and honor our dead heros.


Win? Win what? And who are we fighting again? Hey, Soldier, can you see the enemy?


We are not at war with any country. We should not subject more and more soldiers to fight against an unseen enemy. Let Asia live however they want to live. Fight the terrorists where it really hurts, interfere with their funding, use intelligence and surveillance and bring the soldiers home. We aren’t going to change anyone’s mind over there. We are trying to bolster countries who don’t even like us and do not have functioning governments to help us or its own citizens. Our country has its own very expensive needs. We need jobs. We need security. Start watching charter and small planes. Fix the security breaches. How can we count on a country who can’t even keep unwanted guests out of a party? Or prevent the Madoffs of the world steal from everyone? Watch the terrorists in America and Europe and if you want to end terrorism then what are we waiting for? Clobber them with everything we’ve got and end it and come home. What have we been doing there for so long?


What is apparent is that there is a distinct threshold of difference between the Taliban and the average Pakistani or Aghanistani tribal member. What our job requires is the subjegation of the Taliban as a para-military force ex-governmental. Either the Taliban becomes part of the religious political democracy by voting or they will be subject to fierce military action. This world can no longer support such anti-social and destructive religious factions that abuse women and use abject force of civilians in order to rule using violence. The West will always become the focus of attacks from these people that can raise suicide bombers to do anything that the leaders persuade them to act upon such as the attack on Mumbai, India, beheading innocent people and so forth.


I agree with #s 8,10,18,22 and 26 as well as others along these lines. We are retired military and have no problem with defending this country if the need arise. BUT Iraq and Afganistan (with the exception of El Qaida) were and are not out to get us. We are not defending ourselves; we are killing women and children for special interests not for self-defense. It makes me very sad and angry that this country which stood for good has degraded itself morally and sold out to special interests. It is time to bring our soldiers home and strengthen our own country by bringing back our industries – our steel mills, our manufacturing plants, and the like. Our young men and women should be at work in steel mills etc instead of killing people in remote lands.

Also – an attack on Iran by either the US or Israel is very likely to start a huge war in the middle east…Iran has a 1,000,000 man army. I am for live and let live.So what if they get the bomb – Israel has as many as 200 and no one says anything. The bomb is useless cause if anyone used it their country would soon be vaporized by someone with more nukes.

Bottom line: Save money, save lives and build up the manufacturing base of America. Return to living morally.


Amazing…all these comments an no mention of the oil and gas reserves of Central Asia ! The American corporate MSM has done a very complete job of censoring the real reason for the occupation of Afghanistan. Almost nine years have passed and still no Bin Laden. And yes, he used to be a CIA operative in the covert war to push the Russians out of Afghanistan. And Karzai used to be a consultant for UNOCAL which was the first American corporation to dream on about a trans-Afghan pipeline system.

With the long-term cost of invading and occupying Afghanistan approaching a $Trillion dollars, this could end up being the most expensive subsidy in history for Big Oil, that is, other than the $3 Trillion (Joseph Stiglitz) wasted in Iraq.

And Duh, ExxonMobil just landed an oil contract with the Iraqi Green Zone “government”. Could it be Saddam never did have any “weapons of mass destruction”. Well of course, the USA has a monopoly on WMD’s !


Its just like Iraq-every single person I see in Afghanistan carries an AK47 whether or not they are Islamic terrorists or farmers.So,unless we take their guns away-we have no idea who is about to shoot us.This is war-not an NRA convention!


We are wasting the lives of our troops and many $$$ and for what ??? There is no way we can win !!!!! Even if we do when all the troops are gone it will go right back the way it has been for ever !!!!!


I think that the NATO forces in Helmand are certainly capable of gaining the upper hand over the Taliban and local resistance over the next year. The resolve necessary to do so certainly seems to be there, and 8 years of experience in Afghanistan has probably given NATO forces more insight into how to deploy their forces more effectively. It certainly seems to me that the Afghan Army has looked to Pakistan and her recent fight against Taliban groups for inspiration. Public outcry to end the violence against civilians in the Islamic Republic inspired the soldiers of Pakistani Army to retake areas of their country. The fighters of the Afghan Army seem to have seized upon this same Islamic imperative to restore and safeguard civil society, and this more than anything may prove to be the difference maker. NATO can bully and terrorize a population into submission while it’s forces are deployed, but it will ultimately be up to the people of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan to establish justice and social cooperation in their own land.


The Taliban are essentially the Pashtun people of Afghanistan and Pakistan with a population of about 35 million.

They see us as an occupying army that they will fight forever as they did the British and the Russians.

The American presence in Afghanistan has almost nothing to do with “terrorism” but is about the exploitation of regional oil and natural gas resources via pipelines through Afghanistan. Afghanistan is also mineral rich.

Pepe Escobar has done great research and reporting on the energy subject. Just Google his name and Pipelineistan.

The American invasion and occupation is a corporate imperial war crime intended to create potential profits for Big Oil. And of course many MIC warmongers are profiting from the war win or loose.

But good luck to the invaders as the Pashtuns are in this for the long run.


I agree with number 4’s comment. The TAliban can be defeated but to be replaced with what? If the women and children were at least emancipated from the Taliban form of Islam, and the government would become in tolerant of AlKaida types, I would feel it was worth it. But who can control those things. This is in the hands of the AFgan leadership.

A quick comment for all the haters out there: The USA is the best country in the entire world even with all of our flaws!


On that question specifically – gain the upper hand, sure for a brief moment in time, tho that is totally meaningless / irrelevant. On “beating” the Taliban, not a chance. Their supply lines & support probably encompase various countries (Pakistan to Russia).

It is not a question of whether that war can be won, it is what the ruling elite decide is in their interest. All this waring is contrived for manipulation and/or diversion, etc., and just propagates more war. The U.S. is way out of line & destroying itself with these involvements / wars. The problem is not so much over there as it is here, in U.S. government – being ruled by the Banks – Money Masters. The real, most important war is over getting the cancer of the Fed out of our government. Many Great posts here – nice to see the increase in awareness.


When we eventually do “succeed” and leave, the situation will return to it’s natural condition. We cannot fit all the “square pegs” in the world into the American “round holes”. History repeats itself only because human beings can never seem to learn from it.


There is absolutely no end of the number of people in the Middle East willing to join the Taliban to fight our solders’. We are on their land and we are the aggressors and these people will not stop fighting any more than we would if they invaded our lands. The Taliban wiped out the poppy fields and once we came back in the fields also came back, makes one wonder. Russia was there for 8 years and gave up and they do not play nice like the U.S. does, get out and fix our borders here and get off their oil, that is the only answer.


Yes, only from here on in, all fighters hideing amongest Afgan people should after proper questioning be handed over to the surviving
relatives of all innocently killed victims for them to dispatch their punishment as they see fit.


Yes, I believe that with the proper amount of troops, equipment and proper strategy, NATO can and will prevail in its battle against the Taliban. However, the bigger question is whether NATO can build the Afgan military and police forces into effective entities. So far, from what I’ve read, the results have been pretty dismal. In the military, the attrition rate is very high, due to desertions. As serious as this is, I’ve not read anything that tells me that NATO is doing anything to effectively analyze and work the problem. I’ve also not heard anything about the Afgan government seriously working the problem of rampant corruption within it’s own agencies. Until the people can trust the government, military, and police, there is no hope of preventing Afganistan from becoming a failed state and falling back into civil war.


Not the way that we’re going. Nato aircraft should not fire on people based on a BELIEF – they should fire on people based on FACTS, especially when there are so many civilians in the area. If they fired simply on a belief, as it was reported, then that means that by definition they did not know what they were doing. If we have modern technology at our disposal, then let’s use it to its capacity to do things actually RIGHT.


Whats the afghan view? The Taliban are the oppostion to a bloody invasion with tausends of afghan lifes, a western pupped regime in Kabul, the bombing of villages and killing of civilians for years, a western military arrogance, a totally failed re-building of the country, corruption by the US as well as afgan officials, security instability, economic dispair and poverty and national humilitation by the western invaders.
The afghans have many reasons to join the Taliban?!
The world is not just black and white as the US and the its media wants it. And I absolutly agree with comment #10, World Focus could do a lot better in bringing a more objective world view in the american black an white media world. The media has today more power than it ever had and is shaping the minds of the people the policies of countries. So just do it for a better world!!!


NO. it can’t and won’t be won EVER!! furthermore these fools better get their “freedom” and “democracy” from the barrel of a gun, rap down soon. the american people are painfully slowly realizing we are victims of the same system. soon this country will be filled w/ homegrown bankrupt unemployed terrorists.
the sooner we destroy it the sooner we recover.
we have met the enemy and he is us!!


I wonder if Americans ever think about paying for their wars. Tax, tax, tax! Well, let’s keep it off budget and pay with Zimababwe dollars! Do you think that will work? Republicans and Democarts are fools. No one ever lost money underestimating the intelligence of the US public. Your warfare state is about to collapse.


I feelthat NATO and the USA are doing everything that they can do, and are going to do everything that they feel they NEED to do in thed future.


While some of the Taliban’s core beliefs are reprehensible at best and worthy of the guillotine at worst(which I don’t condone as I’m not for denying persons’ intrinsic right to live out their lives), I think the United States and its hordes of elitist European gangs and thuggish Arab monarchic rats grossly disregard and devalue the lives of poverty-stricken villagers while it overvalues the safety of its own, often offering too many shallow apologies (on good days) and carrying out the same acts of mass murders the following day. While Worldfocus is a welcome improvement over other self-absorbed domestic outlets, I think it could further serve the world’s public by covering from the ground or using coverage of global partners and not having some ‘expert’ assess the murders from the relative safety of his/her office in Washington and elsewhere. It would also do much better for Worldfocus if factual information could be used when Iraq and Afghanistan are in question. Referring to them what they aren’t, a “war”, degrades the public’s intellect as you know no formal declarations of war has ever been issued by the right legal authority(ies) (with possible exception for Afghanistan).

I’ve seen plenty of Iran-related segments on the program and I’d like to stress that a fair treatment for Iran must be made, regardless of what you or the editors of the program must think of its policies, despicable or not. You know if it were any other country, you’d have someone from the local consulate come and defend his/her government’s policies. Constantly having a opposition sympathizers and some third party ‘expert’ (yet again) from some Washington “ThinkTank” commenting and dispensing his/her own personal beliefs and opinions on concerned matters strikes me as an egregious violation of the principles of objective news reporting journalism strives to ascend to and uphold. This isn’t to scold Worldfocus. Perhaps you’re limited in resources to undertake such efforts, and it’s understandable. Nonetheless, you have achieved milestones in bringing worldly perspectives and images to our formerly news corporation-censored screens, improvements in such small areas as these are pertinent. After all, is “news” really news without the basic element of objectivity?


Their is no alternative, but to push forward until they achieve an acceptable level of success.


No. We seem to get great satisfaction in destroying indigenous people.So,I guess the Afghan is next on our list. How we can attain any military pride out of killing people who can’t defend themselves against modern military weapons is beyond my understanding.


It is near crazy to think our military could. The Russian could not and the Taliban were not no where as well organized as they are today. Now they have the weapons Reagan/bush/north GAVE THEM.
The only thing the present military action is doing is creating a large sales for the AMERICAN WAR MACHINES. It is time to stop all aciton and come home when the Afgan folks wish to they can fight them on their own turf and with the rules of engagement better understood by all and not condeming the US of the deaths of their folks.
In closing we can never win as Israel will never win just continue to drain the US of A for war funds. Frank Bowers of Austin, TX and a RA for 8 years with 3 honorable discharges.


Great comments #2 through #5. Even if we “defeat” the Taliban, they will regain the support of the people when we leave.


No it can not be won. They are fighting a guerrilla army, and conventional forces can never defeat them. The US (that is who it really is, not NATO) will declare victory and pull out, and the country will be worse off than ever. The US can not even govern nor take care of their own people, it is a pathetic and deadly joke anytime they decide to “help” anyone else, or give them “democracy,” something we in the US do not even have.


I have little doubt that the US can win militarily, but is it really worth the sacrifice just to replace religious extremists with a corrupt neo colonial elite?


History will tell you, but they will noy heed the past.The more civilians that die at the hands of the invaders, the more determined the Afgan people will repel the invaders.This again is a civil war, just like Vietnam was, but seems we never will stop the invaders.


And what if they did? Then what? The Democratic Republic of Afghanistan? McDonald’s and Walmarts? Get Real!!!


It depends on how many of the Taliban are willing to die. Once the NATO forces leave that country they are not going to return. If the Afghan army does not once and for all build up their forces to repelled any invader in the future the people from Pakistan will continue to invade.
Maybe it would be wise to give a reward for the head of a Taliban something that would equal a pile of donkey dung. Something to make the Taliban look as if they are full of dung.

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