"Once you get dialogue and interaction going -- and people are flexible -- then suddenly, a lot can happen," he said, walking next to the river in which the two men died. "Because half of this is misperception. If [local residents] have never dealt with coalition forces, we look like we're from Mars. And yet just the ability to break down some of that and interact as a human -- some words in Dari or Pashto -- just makes a huge difference. And then you find out what they want. They find out what we want: we don't want to conquer Afghanistan. We want them to own Afghanistan."
Local residents do not yet own this part of Afghanistan. McChrystal says they -- and his troops -- have to be patient, and have to work together in order to bring stability in an area long ignored by the United States.
"It can take months," he said. "It can take years."