by Gareth Porter, March 09, 2010
For weeks, the U.S. public followed the biggest offensive of the Afghanistan War against what it was told was a "city of 80,000 people" as well as the logistical hub of the Taliban in that part of Helmand. That idea was a central element in the overall impression built up in February that Marjah was a major strategic objective, more important than other district centers in Helmand.
Marjah is not a city or even a real town, but either a few clusters of farmers’ homes or a large agricultural area covering much of the southern Helmand River Valley.
"It’s a collection of village farms, with typical family compounds," said the official, adding that the homes are reasonably prosperous by Afghan standards.