In an interview that will air on All Things Considered, Marie Colvin, the Middle East correspondent for The Sunday Times of London, recently returned from a reporting trip to Marjah, told NPR's Robert Siegel that the situation in the Afghanistan's Helmand Province remains "very, very fraught."
"A small number of insurgents are using fear and intimidation very effectively," she said. "They are approaching turning the whole surge on its head."
According to Colvin, residents of Marjah are being intimidated regularly, threatened with harm and death. One farmer who refused to pay taxes to the Taliban was beaten to death. She spoke to a contractor whose partner was shot in the head.
"It's very, very tense," Colvin told Siegel. "The American marines are being very, very careful. Often not shooting somebody they know to be hostile if it means there could be civilian deaths there."
They are walking around poppy fields. They are being very, very, very careful partnering with Afghan police and soldiers, listening to them, being very careful about not entering houses.
The officers are aware of what they need to do, and they're really trying to do it. I don't know if it will work, but it certainly has the potential to work.