For the first time since the war began, Afghan soldiers outnumber the U.S. and NATO soldiers fighting alongside them as they battle to clear Marja, the Taliban stronghold in southern Afghanistan. And this time, instead of winning the territory only to abandon it later and allowing insurgents to return, the troops plan to hold the farming area for as long as it takes to install a government there and a local security force to keep the citizens safe. With development projects ready to go, large numbers of civilians will move into Marja once the invasion is over. James Jones, Obama’s national security adviser, said Sunday that this operation will be the first to demonstrate the new strategy in Afghanistan, one that focuses on not just security, but also economy and governance. Obama is watching the fight closely, and the operation has won the approval of the GOP, which otherwise has a contentious relationship with the president. The counterinsurgency push is high-stakes for Gen. Stanley McChrystal: This is the first offensive conducted since he asked for a 30,000-troop surge.