As Pakistan’s army continues to pound Taliban emplacements, US Marines have launched Operation Strike of the Sword, moving 4000 Marines and hundreds of mechanized vehicles into the southern regions of Afghanistan.
New COIN (Counterinsurgency) methods will be employed, with the primary mission being the protection of Afghanistan’s citizenry, as opposed to the killing of Taliban fighters. The area that the Marines are sweeping quite possibly has the largest opium crop in the world.
I’m not sure the COIN methods will work as they did in Iraq. The people in the area depend on opium for their livelihood. The entire populace–not just the Taliban–is likely to be against us here. Supposedly we have some plans to provide other crops for the populace, but I don’t think these will make nearly the amount of cash opium does.