WASHINGTON (AP) — The Marines are putting America’s longest war behind them. They are pulling up stakes in the patch of Afghan desert known as Helmand province, where 378 Marines were killed and nearly 5,000 wounded in fighting that peaked four years ago.
On Sunday they turned over to Afghan authorities the keys to Camp Leatherneck, the sprawling base in Helmand from which the Marines surged against the Taliban in 2009.
Helmand was the epicenter of President Barack Obama’s surge against the Taliban. The Marines focused on it so completely that some dubbed it “Marine-istan.”
The Marines point with pride to their successes in Helmand. But some question whether those gains will be sustained after the Marines are gone and the Taliban seek another comeback.