My good friend Andrew Lubin is back in Afghanistan on what is like his 6th or 7th trip there. He is again writing up his blog posts for Leatherneck magazine called “Notes from the Field”.
This is classic COIN, taken from the “Small Wars Manual,” as the Marines interact with the Afghan farmers, elders and bazaaris (merchants), including teaching the children basic English while learning equally basic Pashtu. From the amount of mutual waving and smiling, as well as the locals tipping off the Afghan Army-Afghan Police to a 350- pound cache of IED-making materials two weeks ago, it is clearly an effective strategy. There has not been a firefight or IED incident in some two months. When the prior Marine unit here opened Patrol Base Achmed, knowing the Marine reputation for fighting, the Taliban quickly left the area, and only sporadically return (see my May 25, Operation Arctic Elephant report).
Head over to http://www.mca-marines.org/leatherneck/notes-field-leathernecks-andrew-lubin-afghanistan and give Andy’s latest dispatch a read. If you want to know what is happening in Afghanistan what better place to read than a guy who is there writing notes from the field.