Withdrawal will be contingent upon the conditions on the ground, and given that I haven't the ability to foresee the future, I would rather not prognosticate. Although it should be made clear that nation building is not the objective, therefore variables such as a 10% literacy rate, average age of 17 years, and life expectancy of 44 years while significant, do not undermine the goal to purge from the region Taliban influence and rule.
What's more, in order for Afghan forces to be trained and the region itself stabilized, reinforcements from our allies are imperative. Stabilization, not democratization is the objective.
Indeed, so long as the region is no longer being used by the Taliban to recruit and train terrorists, Afghans are free to live under Sharia law or any other such anachronistic system of law preferred by a centralized government.
This. A thousand times this
. Great post.
How does one win an unwinnable war?
The only options here are to try and undermine the Taliban by encouraging the Afghans themselves to reject them - which means providing a better alternative. Freedom, economic improvement, a stake in the future of their country, and security provided by Afghans themselves ultimately.
The Taliban cannot be totally defeated militarily any more than the Viet Cong could. The more reasonable elements of the Taliban have to be re-integrated, and the security forces have to oppose the rest and provide security for the country, while improvements are made to the quality of life of ordinary Afghans so that they reject the extremism on offer by the Taliban.
Then we can come home.
This sounds too much like nation-building to me, which strikes me as an unrealistic objective.