A look at how the US-led coalition lost Afghanistan's Marjah district to the Taliban - Middle East - Stripes: Experts say U.S. officials failed to take into account how much time and resources it would take to cement gains won on the battlefield.
U.S. and British troops did take control of the collection of rough farming villages that make up Helmand province’s Marjah district and nearby Nad Ali. But the hope that a “government in a box” would cement those gains proved illusory.
Despite years of fighting in Helmand that cost nearly 1,000 foreign troops’ lives, effective local governance never took hold in many rural areas.
“In a counterinsurgency, you’re only as good as the government you support, and in Marjah, the government didn’t have the support of the people,” said David Kilcullen, a counterinsurgency expert and author.