First, a forum on Afghanistan in The New Republic. One depressing view comes from Amitai Etzioni:
I long argued that before we promote the full slew of human rights, we should attend to the most basic of them all: to protect life. Not because other rights are unimportant but because they are contingent on keeping people alive. We are failing this test in Afghanistan as we are about to leave after the elections, and leave a country in which killing will be rampant. We should try to work with the ISI, which has some leverage over the Taliban, to see if, in exchange for our support, they would try to avoid a civil war in Afghanistan and ensure that it will not serve again as a haven for terrorists. If not, we better have the drones ready.
I am not surprised that we shall not leave behind a stable democratic country; I never believed we could engage in nation building in this part of the world. And I am not surprised that we shall leave behind a country even more corrupt and subject to drug lords that we found. I am distressed about the size of the cemeteries Afghanistan will need.