Friday, February 19, 2010

News of Marjah, and beyond?

Much of the news from Afghanistan this week centers around the "Marjah offensive," with both Afghan civilian and U.S./NATO deaths, consensus in mainstream press that the offensive is "working" despite ramped up gunfire, roadside bombings and more from the Taliban, and Pakistan's "lucky accident" capture of Taliban commander Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar.

Some outlets report that Taliban fighters have been using civilians as human shields, propping them up and firing from behind them, preventing U.S./NATO forces from fighting back or advancing.

Few outlets however give nearly as much analysis, if any, to the next step in the U.S. plan for Afghanistan once Marjah is "cleared." If any, like in this New York Times piece, it centers around the strategy to hand off power to Afghans, or as Obama says, a transfer. But, said Gen. Stanley McChrystal recently, “We’ve got a government in a box, ready to roll in.”

Government in a box? Is it a transfer of power, or a U.S. installation of its own puppet government?

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