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Though he is young, Mr. Rasooli knows what is needed in this dusty, primitive area. “With irrigation, there are many crops farmers here can grow besides opium, but we must have roads to deliver produce to markets,” he told me. He also knows the Taliban told the people that the Marines would depart after the Aug. 20 elections. They didn’t. Now the Taliban says U.S. troops will leave after Ramadan is over on Sunday.

As I left him, Mr. Rasooli said, “We hope the Marines will stay until we have enough good ANA and ANP here to protect the people; otherwise the Taliban will return and the people will never have any schools, clinics or hope.” It is a prophetic lesson that officials in Kabul and Washington ought to heed. Otherwise, this battle space will once again belong to those who hate America.

Oliver North is the host of “War Stories” on the Fox News Channel, the author of “American Heroes” and the founder and honorary chairman of Freedom Alliance.