December 7, 2010

WHACK-A-MOLE:

Afghan poll shows falling confidence in U.S. efforts to secure country (Rajiv Chandrasekaran and Jon Cohen, 12/07/10, Washington Post)

The new poll - conducted by The Washington Post, ABC News, the British Broadcasting Corp. and ARD television of Germany - found a particularly notable shift in public opinion in Helmand province, where Marines have been conducting intensive counterinsurgency operations. The number of people in Helmand describing their security as "good" jumped from 14 percent in a December 2009 poll to 67 percent now. Nearly two-thirds of Helmand residents now say Afghanistan is on the right track.

In Helmand and in neighboring Kandahar, the percentage of residents reporting threatening nighttime letters from the Taliban has been sliced in half. Public assessments of the U.S. military efforts in the area have also improved over the year, but 79 percent of people in the two provinces say American and allied troops should start their withdrawal next summer or sooner.

The changes in Helmand and Kandahar bolster claims by senior U.S. military officials, including Gen. David H. Petraeus, the top coalition commander, that the application of greater combat power and civilian assistance is starting to make a difference.

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Posted by Orrin Judd at December 7, 2010 4:53 PM
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