Juan Cole, president of the Global Americana Institute, offers on his blog today a straightforward analysis of the start of the current U.S./NATO offensive in Marjah, Afghanistan. Because of many roadside bombs and other Taliban guerilla tactics, foreign troops are moving slowly.
Yesterday the US military shot rockets at a civilian home, killing 12 civilians, 10 from the same family, believing it to be a Taliban "source" of attacks. Gen. Stanley McChrystal said these sort of attacks must stop, since they'll continue to tick off Afghan civilians. Not good, Cole writes, since U.S./NATO "conceive of Marjah as a counter-insurgency operation, which begins by clearing out the insurgents but then depends on the territory being held in the long term, with locals being guaranteed security and prosperity by the forces coming in from Kabul."
The offensive might last 30 days. For Afghan civilians, it might feel like 30 years.