In Hurting U. S. Efforts to Win Minds, Taliban Disrupt Pay, the NYT reports a world gone mad:
MARJA, Afghanistan — Since their offensive here in February, the Marines have flooded Marja with hundreds of thousands of dollars a week. The tactic aims to win over wary residents by paying them compensation for property damage or putting to work men who would otherwise look to the Taliban for support.
The approach helped turn the tide of insurgency in Iraq. But in Marja, where the Taliban seem to know everything — and most of the time it is impossible to even tell who they are — they have already found ways to thwart the strategy in many places, including killing or beating some who take the Marines’ money, or pocketing it themselves.
Just a few weeks since the start of the operation here, the Taliban have “reseized control and the momentum in a lot of ways” in northern Marja, Maj. James Coffman, civil affairs leader for the Third Battalion, Sixth Marines, said in an interview in late March. “We have to change tactics to get the locals back on our side.”
Back on our side? Is this man sentient?
Col. Ghulam Sakhi, an Afghan National Police commander here, says his informants have told him that at least 30 Taliban have come to one Marine outpost here to take money from the Marines as compensation for property damage or family members killed during the operation in February.
“You shake hands with them, but you don’t know they are Taliban,” Colonel Sakhi said. “They have the same clothes, and the same style. And they are using the money against the Marines. They are buying I.E.D.’s and buying ammunition, everything.”
One tribal elder from northern Marja, who spoke on condition of anonymity for fear of being killed, said in an interview on Saturday that the killing and intimidation continued to worsen. “Every day we are hearing that they kill people, and we are finding their dead bodies,” he said. “The Taliban are everywhere.”
Translation: Marja was a failure. Will apparent success in tribal regions of Afghanistan be a material aid to the early and subsequent efforts in Kandahar?
What's going on in Marja is a disgrace, worse because the operation was initially widely reported to be in the city/village of Marja, as if it were Falluja or the like. This was a military-induced media lie. Marja is just an opium hub. It's of no other importance. And NATO/U. S. hasn't a clue as to what's really going on there.
Here it is: Everybody hates us in Afghanistan. Those who don't are on our payroll. They may simply despise us.
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