The US has claimed “security gains” in the province, but though some 2,000 Marines are nominally stationed here, local officials say they rarely stray from the tiny staging area in the northeast corner, and never stray into the provincial capital of Zaranj, a mostly Baloch town along the border with Iranian Balochistan.
It is here that locals say the insurgency is on the rise, with insurgents launching attacks on the city and killing members of the provincial council. In fact the council shuttered the doors of its tiny, bombed out headquarters in Zaranj and has relocated to Kabul.
We are absolutely not winning this war in any measurable way.
The only area for which the US and NATO can cheerily say "mission accomplished"(which of course, they never would publicly) is control of the drug trade, which the Taliban had almost completely eradicated under their watch.