From: Pete Mansoor (edited)
The United States had to fight the war in Afghanistan but we took our eye off the real objective, which was the destruction of Al Qaeda.
The mishandling of the fight at Tora Bora in 2001 was incompetence at its finest. The Bush administration then took its eye off the ball again through its ill-considered invasion of Iraq, leaving Afghanistan to fester.
At this point the best the United States can hope for is to support an Afghan government that can keep the country together after 2014 and convince the Taliban that it cannot win the war in any conceivable time frame.
This will require the election of an Afghan president with some real leadership abilities, unlike Hamid Karzai. With good leadership and support from the United States and our NATO allies, anything is possible.
For a view of what winning might look like, look at Colombia. A decade ago the country seemed on the verge of disaster with the FARC on the ascendancy, but now the war there is all but over. Good Colombian presidential leadership and U.S. support were the keys to victory.