“It feels like Groundhog Day,” said Staff Sergeant Robin Spotts, on his third Helmand deployment. About half of the 300 Marines who have arrived over the past two weeks have served in Helmand before. Even the flag raised in a ceremony on Saturday was the same, having been kept at the Pentagon since October 2014.
The situation now is worse than when they left. Areas where the US military had outposts and walked the bazaars are now inaccessible even for Afghan forces. Of the province’s 14 districts, only two are firmly under government control.
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