When my colleague Caroline Wadhams got back from Afghanistan recently I had a brief-but-depressing chat with her about her observations, and now you too can get depressed by her writeup:
I was struck by the deep pessimism I encountered from the moment I arrived in Kabul for the election observation mission. Each and every person I spoke to, whether foreign or Afghan, believed Afghanistan was deteriorating despite the infusion of U.S. troops and assistance. They also thought that the insurgency was spreading.
Conveniently, she reports that people also pretty universally feel that a quick US exit would be even worse than the deteriorating status quo. Basically, nobody knows what to do. I have some further thoughts on where that leaves us, but I want to express myself judiciously and am in a bit of a rush at the moment so I’ll just recommend her piece for now.