Reporter's Notebook: Endless Supply of Insurgents in Afghanistan

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In many ways this is the harder part. Womack and his Afghan interpreter began a conversation with the men in this village. Women are nowhere to be seen.

"How many of your sons are in the ANSF?" Womack asked, using the acronym for Afghan National Security Forces. When the men said none were involved Womack urged them to join.

Building up the army and police is key to the American exit strategy.

The exchange makes for an amusing scene: In full battle gear Womack is an imposing figure surrounded by men draped in blankets wearing sandals.

Eventually a herd of goats runs through the scene. When a man complains about having his shotgun taken away Womack gives it back.

Then, as another gesture of goodwill, Womack offers the elder a wad of cash. He said it's for all the locks his soldiers have broken today.

The mission's seamless adjustment to public relations is judged as successful.

The hike to the landing zone where helicopters will swoop in for pickup is long and hilly. The terrain and the landscape never change.

For as far as you can see in any direction there are mountains and valleys and seemingly countless places an insurgent could pass undetected. For all of its difficulty and sacrifice required Womack said he believes the war is winnable.

"I think so, I do. I wouldn't be here. We've paid to high a price for me not to believe in this mission."

A soldier releases a can of yellow smoke to give the helicopter pilots a target and the troops jog toward the Chinooks with a feeling they'll be back to do the same thing tomorrow.

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