The fight for Marjah is now completed and Taliban forces have been driven from the city limits after a few weeks of intensive fighting. General McChrystal was not pleased the battle took so long, but was glad that civilian casualties were low compared to initial fears of massive deaths. About 19 civilians died during the struggle, some from Allied forces and some from Taliban fire. In one sense, Marjah was the opening shots in the real battle which will occur when Allied troops challenge the Taliban in their spiritual capital of Khandahar. The fight for that city will require time and there will be more deaths on all sides.
President Obama promised more troops for Afghanistan and they will all be in place this summer for the fight in Khandahar. The real issue is whether such fights and “victories” resolve the problem of violence in Afghanistan or do they simply delay issues. In the end, all such wars must be resolved at the bargaining table, not in the field of war.