A comment a young Afghan man made to U.S. Marines last week should be seen as the key to military strategy in Afghanistan.
About 4,000 Marines are involved in the biggest offensive against the Taliban terrorists since the 2001 invasion of Afghanistan. Taliban positions in both that country and Pakistan are being attacked.
According to the Associated Press, a resident of Nawa, Afghanistan, expressed his fear to Marines sweeping through that area on Friday. "We are afraid that you will leave, and the Taliban will come back," fretted Mohammad Nabi, 25.
His worry is justified. Too often in Afghanistan, U.S. and other coalition forces have defeated Taliban terrorists, then moved on. Once they leave, the Taliban return. Afghans even suspected of having cooperated with U.S. or other coalition forces face swift, vicious retribution.
Military strategy in Afghanistan should not focus on destroying Taliban bases or equipment, or on capturing real estate. It should have one objective: annihilation of the Taliban. They and their fellow al-Qaida terrorists have made it clear that as long as they live, they will continue to oppress the Afghan people - and use that country as a base to launch attacks against Americans.
A military spokesman told the AP that the goal of the current offensive is not just to kill Taliban terrorists, but also to win over the Afghan population. We suggest - and Nabi supports us - that the best way to win the confidence of Afghans is to eliminate the Taliban wherever they are found.