Marines see progress in Afghanistan

LA Times:

The general in charge of U.S. Marines in Afghanistan said Monday that progress was being made in wresting a key southern province from Taliban control but cautioned that the process was slow and difficult to measure.

Marine Lt. Gen. Samuel Helland also said the Marine Corps was ready to send more troops to Afghanistan if asked by top U.S. officials. "Everything we're doing is preparing to put more forces in theater," Helland said.

The Marines' goal is to train the Afghan security forces to carry the fight to the Taliban. The training is going slowly, Helland said.

"They don't understand leadership, they don't understand noncommissioned officers," he said. "To use a Marine term, they're a herd. But once trained, they're warriors."

Helland is set to retire Friday after 41 years of military service, beginning as an Army enlisted man with the Special Forces in Vietnam. For the last two years he has been the commanding general of 1st Marine Expeditionary Force and Marine Force Central Command, with authority over Marines in Afghanistan and Iraq.


But despite polls indicating that public support for the mission is slipping and signs of growing reluctance in Congress, Helland asserted that pulling U.S. forces out of Afghanistan is not an option until the Afghans are ready to handle the fight against the Taliban.

"As long as there is a foreign enemy that is radical, irresponsible and willing to do anything to cause instability and chaos . . . we need to keep them off-balance, to keep them from coming here," he said.
This guy sounds like a Marine general. I like this story because it is more upbeat than most stories recently. It is also more consistent with what is really happening in Helmand where the Marines are working.

Perhaps there are political reasons for all the negative assessments of the situation in Afghanistan, but can anyone name one firefight where the US troops have lost this year?


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