Flynn’s December 23rd presentation on the “State of the Insurgency: Trends, Intentions and Objectives” may be the gloomiest public assessment of the war yet. The “loosely organized” Taliban is “growing more cohesive” and “increasingly effective.” The insurgents now have their own “governors” installed in 33 of Afghanistan’s 34 provinces. And the “strength and ability of [that] shadow governance increasing,” according to the presentation. The Taliban’s “organizational capabilities and operational reach are qualitatively and geographically expanding.”
At the end of the day, for American and NATO forces in Afghanistan, there will be a "Saigon Moment", when these military personnel will have to leave the country, just as the military personnel from the old Soviet Union had to leave.
Ultimately, the only people who will have "won" here are the corporations providing mercenaries and logistics services, and the drug lords.
And then, the US will have to negotiate with whatever government is left standing about the cost of installing the pipelines with which to control Eurasian oil, just as the Bush administration was doing as late as August of 2001.
Wars are never cheaper than negotiations.