Afghan Flag Raised in Marjah

Government aims to win residents' allegiance with jobs, projects
By Harry Kimball,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 25, 2010 9:34 AM CST
Afghan Flag Raised in Marjah
Afghans listen to speeches after raising the Afghan national flag in Marjah.   (AP Photo)

The Afghan flag was raised today in Marjah after a two-week offensive that left at least 10 coalition troops and 150 Taliban fighters dead and set the stage for the Afghan government’s hopeful return to an area it ceded two years ago. The governor of Helmand province was at pains to tell an assembled group today that this time it would be different. “Nobody can tell me that during the last two years the Taliban did a single thing for you,” he said. “Can you tell me they built a school? A clinic? Helped the poor? Built roads? Fixed the canals?”

“We haven't had a gunfight in three days,” a Marine commander tells the Wall Street Journal, but coalition leaders aren’t blind to the hurdles ahead. Work projects began with a modest $5 a day plus a wind-up radio to more than 50 Marjah residents who cleaned up the area around the Loy Chareh bazaar yesterday, the Journal notes, with more on the way.
(More Marjah stories.)

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