The young Army captain lit a cigar, inhaled and took in the night sky. It had been a vexing week. His outpost had been attacked by extremists using rocket propelled grenades, a platoon had been fired upon while on an intelligence-gathering mission and people in the nearby market place, once friendly, were unusually stand-offish following an earlier pro-Taliban harangue by an unidentified visitor...

We want to hear what you think about this article. Submit a letter to the editor or write to letters@theatlantic.com.