I don't know where this soldier was quoted, but he is saying that they did not view all of the "locals" as enemies. They were able to tell the "bad guys" from the uninvolved civilians. They were able to get rid of the bad guys and then offer help to the people.
Soldiers in many wars in history would have declared the entire area as "enemy" and would not have helped anyone. They would have viewed the entire local "people" as "trying to kill us." I think that is the point being made.