Eight years ago, this northern flood plain was the scene of the Taliban's last stand.
Now, it's the locus of a resurgent militancy in a region that is fast becoming a new front in the Afghan war - with troubling consequences for coalition supply lines and U.S. allies whose will to stay and fight is being tested by rising casualties.
We are up to our necks here in a military misadventure we cannot win, and our options are limited.
Afghanistan has long been nicknamed "The Graveyard of Empires"; unfortunately, that is about to be what happens to the US in Afghanistan.
We've never had enough boots on the ground to do the job, and you cannot, absolutely cannot, win what is essentially a ground war from the air.
Our military and civilian leadership should have learned that from the American debacle which was Viet Nam, but apparently, haven't.
Our soldiers keep dying because we have not accomplished one of two geopolitical objectives here, and that is the "pacification" of Afghanistan in order to install the pipelines to control Eurasian oil.
And the other objective? Protecting the drug trade, from which so many profit so well.
As reported in:
"The opium production in Afghanistan is down by 10 percent while the area under poppy cultivation in the country fell 22 percent in 2009, a new UN report said Wednesday."
"However, the war-torn Afghanistan still remains the world’s largest supplier of the drug, producing 6,900 tonnes of opium, from which heroin is derived, the Online news agency said citing the report."
You might recall that, under the rule of the Taliban, the opium trade was almost completely eradicated;, but subsequent to the US invasion and occupation of Afghanistan, opium production soared.
You tell me.