WASHINGTON — A senior US Marine general in Afghanistan on Tuesday declared the battle in the southern Taliban stronghold of Marjah "essentially over."
The commander's assertion of victory in Marjah comes 10 months after thousands of US-led NATO troops stormed the cluster of farming hamlets to rout insurgents and cut off their income from the drug trade.
The campaign took longer than NATO officials had hoped, and underscored the complexity of trying to wrest control of an area where Taliban influence remained strong.
Maj. Gen. Richard Mills told reporters at the Pentagon on Tuesday the enemy has been pushed to the outskirts of the area, where insurgents come in from the desert to take "the odd shot at us." In the more populated areas, Mills said Afghan police are mostly providing the security on their own.