"The people of Afghanistan, from what I’m seeing, just don’t straight-out flat trust Americans, even though they know we’re here to help them,” he said. “Because every day I go on patrol, I tell them, ‘We’re here to help you.’ But in their eyes, I think they just see it as a temporary help.”And then:
But without more troops — Afghan or American — to provide a permanent presence in the villages, there are tight limits on how much Basilides can alleviate the elders’ concerns. The insurgents have the run of the villages beyond the Bowl and the ability to coerce the tacit support of the villagers.Now, I'm a big believer in the utility of population-centric counterinsurgency - as long as it is balanced appropriately with terrain- and enemy-centric tactics as well. But this is what I see as wrong in Afghanistan: we're not able to sustain any gains we may actually achieve and apparently these Afghanis realize that. It is too little force, both US and Afghani, to meet what few objectives have been stated and there is not enough of a civilian agency presence to solidfy those gains.