The campaign by the joint 15,000-strong NATO and Afghan forces, which began Feb. 13, is designed to drive the Taliban from stronghold towns like Marja and Nad Ali and re-establish Afghan governance there.
With the military phase winding down in Marja, U.S. and Afghan officials told The Washington Post the tougher challenge is helping to set up a credible civilian government.
The Marja region offensive was led by the U.S. marines, and the Nad Ali region by British troops.
McChrystal, the top U.S. and NATO commander in Afghanistan, visited Marja Monday along with Afghan second Vice President Karim Khalili, and other senior officials.
"We're not at the end of the military phase, but we're clearly approaching that," McChrystal said. "The government of Afghanistan is in the position now of having the opportunity, and the requirement, to prove they can establish legitimate governance."
The New York Times quoted Khalili as telling a crowd of about 200 Marja tribal elders the important thing now was to bring peace for all.
"Please talk to your friends, tell them to come to the government," he said. "The government of Afghanistan is beside you. We will make a good administration here for you in Marja."
While the audience didn't show much enthusiasm, the Times reported Khalili's visit showed the government was at least making an effort to reach the people.
"This was the first time in 35 years that the vice president had been in Helmand," said Mark Sedwill, the newly-appointed NATO senior civilian representative.