Marjah village is located about 25 km West-Southwest of Lashkar Gah (see – Lashkar-Gah 01.29.10) in the Northern part of Helmand Province in Afghanistan, in the center of Helmand River valley and a home to about 80,000 people. Lashkar Gah, the regional capital, was already the scene of a major British raid, on 10/18/2008, when dozens of Taliban were ambushed and killed by British helicopter gun ships, directed by Special Forces on the ground (see – Lashkar Gah 10.12.08). The region is a Taliban intact stronghold already since operation Absolute Justice in 12/2001.
Therefore the village of Marjah was selected as the epicenter of the next NATO-ISAF major operation in Helmand, aimed to decapitate the Taliban regional leadership and uproot the Taliban from the region. 15,000 troops are designated to the operation, which, most likely, already began with infiltration of Special Forces into the area in order to locate Taliban leaders, to select targets and, eventually, to direct aerial air strikes and other raiding forces to kill the Taliban (see also – Obamas Surge).A large number of the forces are Afghan forces with the mission to help to select out the Taliban from the general population and to seal the area in order to prevent any escape of Taliban fighters from the region or any reinforcement to move in. The coming operation in Marjah was given the name “Operation Moshtarak”. Moshtarak in Arabic and local Persian Dialect means cooperation.
While Operation Moshtarak is gearing up – the Afghani President in a security conference in Munich, Germany, on Sunday 02/07/2010, has demanded that NATO-ISAF forces in his country stop all military raids on local villages. Speaking on Sunday at the annual Munich Security Conference, Hamid Karzai said civilian deaths and injuries inflicted during operations by international forces had caused deep anger among Afghans.
Hamid Karzai should know that there is no way to totally avoid civilian casualties while fighting the Taliban, who are totally assimilated into the local village societies in Afghanistan. There is no way to uproot the Taliban from the countryside without going after the Taliban to their safe havens and hideouts with, in most of the cases, are not isolated caves in the mountains or training camps but remote towns and villages, local tribesmen and supportive population. What Hamid Karzai is asking for is a total defensive mode of protecting the main towns and his bases of power which is a recipe for growing grip of the Taliban on the countryside and for an ever lasting war (see – Way-Out 01.28.10).
Hamid Karzai clearly wants NATO-ISAF to protect his political assets in Afghanistan but not to win the war, because, in the long run, without foreign military power to support him, there is a big question whether he is really capable to stay in power and maintain his grip on the Afghan society (see – Karzai 01.16.10). .
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