I am beginning to think, unlike Iraq, democratic nation building in Afghanistan may be impossible outside of Kabul; the society is too tribal and backward.
Still, most people are being hysterical about the losses we are taking there; they are nothing comparable to almost every other war we have ever fought, including Iraq. We could sustain this effort for a long time.
If nation building fails in the next years, say five years or so, that does not mean the war must end or that we must surrender to the Taliban. We do not have to be the pussies we presenting the the Talaban and Al Qeada.
For our strategic purpose all we need achieve is to prevent the Taliban from controlling most of the country or having large safe havens in which to plan terror attacks in the West at their leisure.
Having them fighting a low intensity guerrilla war in Afghanistan for decades serves our purpose every bit as much as the costlier goal of nation building.
We could arm any group that opposes them, including the opium lords (who in the long run know a Taliban victory means their elimination) and let them do most of the slog fighting while we only augment with Special Forces, air power and increasingly effective predator drones, thus keeping the Taliban perpetually pinned down fighting in Afghanistan until they wear down.
Just keeping them fighting in Afganistan is a victory.
The West is not thinking about all its strategic options.
The Taliban do not have the power to defeat us, only we do.