Progress Report

Afghan Gov't Seizes Marja

The Afghan government installed an administrator in the southern Taliban stronghold of Marja in Helmand province Thursday in what the province's senior U.S. government representative called "the civilian Afghan government re-establishing itself officially in front of the local residents." U.S. Marines and Afghan troops are still working to secure a 28-square-mile area believed to hold the last pocket of Taliban in Marja. The installation of an administrator is a sign that the mass assault on insurgents in Helmand, a joint effort of 15,000 NATO and Afghan troops, is making progress. NATO's strategy is to drive Taliban militants out of Marja, which was used as a base for attacks, then win over the locals by rushing in public services.