Hundreds of civilians have already fled Marjah, and the Afghan government insists it has made preparations to feed up to 6,000 displaced families. But with the Helmand region containing over 100,000 civilians, the largest NATO offensive since the 2001 invasion could easily overwhelm this capacity.
This has led NATO and the Afghan government to urge Marjah’s civilian populace to “stay put” while the troops mass along the outskirts of their region. They insist civilians “will not be harmed,” but with an enormous number of foreign troops primed for action and the Taliban planting explosives anywhere and everywhere, a significant civilian toll seems inevitable.
These people know precisely what's coming, and for NATO and the Afghan government to make such a statement is a consummate insult to their intelligence.