How to Lose in Afghanistan - Anthony H. Cordesman, Washington Post opinion.
The United States cannot win the war in Afghanistan in the next three months - any form of even limited victory will take years of further effort. It can, however, easily lose the war. I did not see any simple paths to victory while serving on the assessment group that advised the new US commander, Gen. Stanley A. McChrystal, on strategy, but I did see all too clearly why the war is being lost.
The most critical reason has been resources. Between 2002 and 2008 the United States never provided the forces, money or leadership necessary to win, effectively wasting more than half a decade. Our country left a power vacuum in most of Afghanistan that the Taliban and other jihadist insurgents could exploit and occupy, and Washington did not respond when the US Embassy team in Kabul requested more resources...
More at The Washington Post.
Also see The Afghan War: A Survey of "Metrics" by Anthony H. Cordesman and Nicholas B. Greenough at the Center for Strategic and International Studies.
The Afghan-Pakistan conflict is a complex conflict that covers two countries and has ideological, political, governance, economic, military, and security dimensions that are extremely difficult to measure and portray in summary form. NATO/ISAF, the United Nations, the US Department of Defense, and various polls and nongovernmental organizations have, however, gradually developed summary metrics and maps of the conflict. Whilke these data have serious gaps, and often attempt to "spin" the war in political directions, they stil provide a useful overview of developments in the conflict and are beginning to go beyond the military dimension to the political and economic dimensions and to show how Afghans and Pakistanis perceive the conflict...
Full Reports and Subreports at CSIS.