Ralph Peters makes very convincing, albeit cynical, points that the Afghans as a whole are just fundamentally opposed to what it is we're trying to do.
And comparisons to Iraq are not viale:
Geography: fighting in Iraq and fighting in Afghanistan are worlds apart. We more-or-less controlled Iraq with the help of some locals with less than 200K troops. The Soviets held virtually no Afghan territory with over 00K. The mountainous terrain is far more insurgent-friendly than the palm groves, rolling dunes and urban areas of Shia and Sunni-held Iraq.
Culture: Iraqis were already somewhat fairly modern and aware of Western civilization and it's benefits/draws. Afghans have no clue.
Infrastructure: Iraqis have Oil to fund their operations. Afghans have nothing. The Iraqis could conceivable prop up a welfare state to keep potential combatants employed. The Afghans have no such option, and certainly nothing that can compete with the offerings of insurgent groups, smuggling, or poppy production.
Afghanistan is a completely different kettle of fish than Iraq. It is hard to conceive how we can "clear and hold" towns in Afghanistan as we eventually did as a result of "The Surge" in Iraq. We have no Sons of Iraq, and to even the crudest of observers in Afghanistan, US popular support is in the descendent as regards to the Afghanistan conflict. Why on earth put your support behind a nation that is getting ready to leave?
I've never heard a reasonable counter to why we do not have a funcioning Afghan military/security force after eight years. The reason I hear is: the Afghans themselves are not committed to "Afghanistan", but more to their own individual betterment and to that of their family/tribe. Joining the military/police are simply two ways to get into the extortion business, but with an official seal of NATO/ISAF approval.
No one has a good answer to this conundrum, and lots of folks whom I trust and respect have very different ideas as to what we should do.
The generally moral here is: we're f***ed no matter what we do.
Looking forward to your input on this topic, Mr. Yon.