The Washington Post
By ANN SCOTT TYSON
Under Strict Rules to Protect Civilians, Marines Face More Complex Missions
MIANPOSHTEH, Afghanistan — The new U.S. strategy for Afghanistan, as articulated in military headquarters and congressional hearing rooms, puts the emphasis not on killing Taliban fighters but on winning over the local people. But in this highly contested swath of Helmand province, Sgt. Anibal Paz’s squad is likely to be ambushed before he has time to sit down for tea.
The sergeants’ war that Paz fights is often craftier and more complex than the war mapped out by generals, and it’s always dirtier and bloodier. Young Americans and Afghans set out to taunt and lure their foes, then try to outsmart or outgun them. The running clashes that result send villagers fleeing their fields, hampering the U.S. Marines’ overarching mission of making the local population feel secure. (more…)