Nawa turns into proving ground for U.S. strategy in Afghan war
This is a strategy that works, however this article will now put Nawa back onto the Taliban’s task listings. The real test comes next.
June 2009: In the throes of the Taliban. A few dozen British soldiers holed up inside a small base in the center of Nawa. Nightly gun and grenade fights. Schools and markets closed. Residents terrorized.
The following 17 months: A 1,000-strong surge battalion of U.S. Marines arrives July 2009. Focuses on protecting the civilian population. American and British advisers build local government. Tens of millions of dollars are pumped in to fund reconstruction projects.
Today: One of the safest districts in southern Afghanistan. Marines who live at former British base have not fired a single bullet while on foot patrol in the past five months. Classrooms packed. Bazaar thriving.
Spring 2011: Afghan forces assume principal responsibility for security. Marines provide emergency backup.