According to a local Taliban commander, the forces in Marjah intend to “wait out” the long threatened NATO invasion, with fighters blending into the region disguised as civilians.
“We will not fight them face-to-face,” insisted the commander, “we will shake their hands, as civilians. Then they will leave.” With US officials telegraphing the invasion for the past month, insurgents have had plenty of time to prepare roadside bombs and whatnot for the troops.
In the meantime, the Marjah civilians continue to flock out of the region, at least the ones who have been able to get out. The refugees say nearly much of the population remains trapped as roadside bombs have made the region impassable.
Beyond the repeated threats in the media, the US has also been papering the region with leaflets vowing an impending invasion. The exact content of the leaflets was not made public, but refugees said they urged local militant commanders (several of which were listed by name) to flee or be killed.
There have been growing questions about the wisdom of the US strategy of pledging the invasion for a solid month before actually sending the troops in, as whether the Taliban choose to “blend in” or fight, they have been given an enormous amount of advanced notice to dig in.