The Guardian:

Afghanistan is America’s longest war, but it is a war America cannot win. And nowhere is this more evident than in Helmand.

Places where British and American troops fought their hardest battles are now firmly under Taliban control.

Babaji, the scene of one of biggest British air assaults in modern times, fell to the Taliban shortly after the Guardian visited last year.

Marjah – where in 2010 thousands of US, British and Afghan troops launched the largest joint offensive in the war – is firmly in the control of the insurgents.

In Musa Qala, the Taliban run a veritable government; in Lashkar Gah, they are close enough to occasionally lob rockets into the governor’s compound.

Prolonged, large-scale battles are rare. Instead, the war is a slow grind of guerrilla attacks, sporadic gun clashes and the occasional push to overrun a population centre. Homemade bombs – the Taliban’s weapon of choice – continue to spread...

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