It’s official: the U.S. military, led by the Marines, have ramped up a new offensive in Afghanistan in order to make the country more secure. Helmand Province in southern Afghanistan, near Kandahar, is the locus of this new offensive. Long a Taliban stronghold, the south of the country has been the most risky and least secure area for American and coalition forces.

Initially, the Marines and NATO troops met little to no resistance; what remains to be seen is the Taliban strategy. Are they on the run, or is this a strategic move to lure troops into a more difficult/dangerous place to fight?

This fight is just beginning, and no doubt will have many twists and turns along the way. But this is part of President Obama’s plan to finally secure Afghanistan and start the process of giving the country back to its people.

Personally, I’m not sure how this will all work out, for obvious reasons. Military maneuvers do not necessarily create political solutions. There are still questions about how Afghanis feel about our presence and new offensive. Plus, logistically there are numerous issues in creating a new society.

None of this touches on the major problems of corruption and drug trafficking, which are still weighing very heavily on Afghan society. Marines, stealth bombers and heavy artillery aren’t made to solve these types of problems. Hopefully, they can provide some “breathing space” needed to push the government forward and force it to make much needed changes.

To all those fighting for this cause, good luck and Godspeed. With any luck and some very talented people leading the charge, this could be the beginning of a new era.

For additional information on Afghanistan:

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/35369975/ns/world_news-south_and_central_asia/

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/35387923/ns/world_news-the_new_york_times/

http://www.newsweek.com/ID/232825

Photo attributed to: NATO Training Mission-Afghanistan

Written by Dan Logue