Fred Kaplan writes that the situation in Afghanistan is worse than ever.
We're in a position of having to depend on an unstable nation (Pakistan) with a political agenda that does not sync with ours. Moreover, that country's stance is dictated by its acrimonious relations with a third country that are beyond our control or influence. Moreover, we're in bed with a notoriously corrupt regime. This is the definition of an untenable position.
If containing the Taliban in Afghanistan is a vital national interest, then Americans must accept the reality of an indefinite and dangerous police presence there.
If containing the Taliban is not a vital interest, we must withdraw.
Those are the realistic terms of the debate. We should cease the fiction that any sort of conventional victory is in the cards.