As seven years of missed opportunity have rolled by, the Taliban has rooted itself across increasing swathes of Afghan territory. According to research undertaken by ICOS throughout 2008, the Taliban now has a permanent presence in 72% of the country. Moreover, it is now seen as the de facto governing power in a number of southern towns and villages. This figure is up from 54% in November 2007, as outlined in the ICOS report Stumbling into Chaos: Afghanistan on the Brink. The increase in their geographic spread illustrates that the Taliban’s political, military and economic strategies are now more successful than the West’s in Afghanistan. Confident in their expansion beyond the rural south, the Taliban are at the gates of the capital and infiltrating the city at will.
Our options are very limited at this point.
No matter what the adults in the room in DC do regarding this military misadventure once Obama is sworn into office, it's only going to be window dressing for an ignominious defeat and an ultimate withdrawal.
A "Saigon moment" is coming here; it's just a question of when.
The question is, how long will the "surge" prolong the agony for both the Afghanis and US and NATO troops?
The numbers just don't add up. US military protocol indicates that it would take 500,000 troops to occupy Afghanistan successfully. We have 30,000 now, with 8,100 Brits. Add another 20,000 for the surge and what do you have? Do the math; this just slightly over 10 percent of the actual numbers needed to do the job.
And because NATO leaders at least do an approximation of listening to their citizens (who are greatly uncomfortable with the carnage and destruction already visited on Afghanistan), they are unwilling to send any more troops to fill the void, period, end of discussion.
"Victory" in Afghanistan? The current situation on the ground certainly doesn't look like it.