While there has been a draw-down in Marjah, changes are beginning to take shape. One major change is that Afghanistan has banned live coverage of the Taliban attacks, saying that it enables the enemy. This has been a source of concern during the entire war on terror in Iraq and Afghanistan alike. The constant feed of news is finally being slowed to ensure not to help defeat the advancement of liberty.
Reuters – Afghanistan bans coverage of Taliban attacks
The announcement came on a day when the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) fighting the Taliban reported six of its service members had been killed in various attacks.
Journalists will be allowed to film only the aftermath of attacks, when given permission by the National Directorate of Security (NDS) spy agency, the agency said. Journalists who film while attacks are under way will be held and their gear seized.
“Live coverage does not benefit the government, but benefits the enemies of Afghanistan,” NDS spokesman Saeed Ansari said. The agency summoned a group of reporters to announce the ban.
The move was denounced by Afghan journalism and rights groups, which said it would deprive the public of vital information about the security situation during attacks.
One could accept the argument made by the journalists, however, if it is helping aid the enemy by providing the public information then the journalists should wait to share their story. The only objection one could make is if the locals are in immediate danger.
Another change being seen in the Marjah region, is that of the people and their understanding of just what type of action is being taken.
AssociatedPress – Afghan complaints show obstacles ahead in war
An Afghan government delegation from Kabul, headed by Vice President Karim Khalili, made its initial foray to the town to meet with some 300 tribal elders and residents at the largest shura, or council meeting, since coalition troops seized control of Marjah last month.
NATO military commander Gen. Stanley McChrystal and civilian chief Mark Sedwill came along in a sign that international forces intend to support the Afghan government’s efforts in the troubled south.
“The most important thing is to bring peace and stability to the people in Afghanistan,” Khalili told the residents. “This is a promise. … It’s our priority to talk to each other. But others want to prevent this. We will not allow them to keep people hostage again. This is a beginning in Marjah. We will be with you. We will stay and fight. We will bring you good governance.”
But the townspeople appeared skeptical — and some were angry.
An elderly man, wearing a gray turban, stood up to say that his family members had been killed during the military operation, although he didn’t say by whom.
After offering his condolences, Khalili reached out to embrace him and promised some money and assistance to his family.
Another elderly man, dressed in a white turban and blue tunic, complained that his house was destroyed during the offensive.
“You promised not to use big weapons. Why was my house destroyed?” he asked.
He invited the delegation to visit his home nearby.
The allied forces have cleared most of Marjah and are now working to secure the area, though NATO has warned there could be pockets of violence for weeks. Hundreds of Afghan police and civil servants are being brought in with the goal of establishing public services to win the support of the population.
NATO officials say establishing good local governance is key, because corruption and lack of services have led many Afghans to turn to the Taliban.
“We need to move fast enough to try to meet expectations. But carefully enough that we’re not party to being blind to some of the nuances,” McChrystal told reporters. “The key thing is to get the locals represented and shape it the way they want because they’ll know best. In the near term, they have to feel represented. They have to feel it’s fair.”
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