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Making progress in Marjah

March 29, 2011

It was in February 2010 that the town of Marjah was put on the map. Until then, Marjah was a Taliban stronghold and and key drug-trafficking spot, but then Operation Moshtarak drove away the Insurgents and allowed for the return of a more normal life for people in the town. Street lighting, roads, shops and schools have appeared in the year since the operation and NATO Channel’s Mel Preen went back to view the progress for herself.

Click on the image below to view the footage by NATO TV.

One Comment leave one →
  1. Roger permalink
    March 30, 2011 05:52

    When the Taliban taxed these people there was only one tax. There was one law and everyone understood what was expected of them – it didn’t matter whether they liked it, they conformed. It is likely that once ISAF has gone (and it will go as soon as it can) the police, ANCOP and ANA will revert to type, as they have done a number of times before, and start imposing more ‘local’ taxes in addition to the central government levies.
    Most Helmandis don’t like paying tax to a government that they do not recognise as their own, nor which reflects their ideals and aspirations. When we leave, the Helmandis will want to return to their autonomous ways, no matter how well meaning or positive ISAF redevelopment efforts are.
    When Helmand turns its back on Karzai and Kabul who is going to force it to conform? UK efforts and expenditure will have been in vain and within two years of ISAF leaving the Taliban will be back.
    The UK’s financial sacrifice will have been vain and in time the street lights and the schools will close down, to be replaced by what the Afghans consider normality – which isn’t street-lights.
    Redevelopment suggests that there was something there before that started out as ‘developed’ and which fell into disrepair (this is normally associated with the rise of the Taliban after the Russians keft); there wasn’t anything that could be identified as developed before 2002, so how viable is the West’s approach to redevelopment? It isn’t, the audience don’t understand it and the Taliban do.
    Let’s save some money and get out now. Al Quada don’t exist openly wiithin the Frontier lands of West Pakistan anymore, so 2002’s job is done. Creating new towns and cities with infrastructure that doesn’t resemble anything that exists normally within the Helmandi’s culture is doomed to fail – just look at the abandoned hospitals that were a legacy of the Soviet occupation.

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