This war has less to do with the Taliban or AQ than it does about the population. If we focus on eradicating the "bad guys" more than incorporating the people into their own government, we lose.
This war is people centric, not bad guy centric. If we integrate the ANSF with the people, while simultaneously working on the corruption of the ANSF, we\they will push the "bad guys" out into the hills where there is nothing to stop us from J-Daming their asses off the planet. This starts with partnering up with them. You can't monitor and mentor from 10k away. You have to live, eat, sleep and fight with them. Partnership down to the lowest common denominator. We have to "influence" them in every way we can. We have to help them promote the right guys, we have to help them get rid of the right guys. If the ANSF are corrupt and infective, it's our fault. If they say they can't do an operation because of lack of air support or up armored vehicles, it's because we taught them that. It's our fault. Any other way does not work. Once again, if we fail to do this, we lose. Hold them accountable, and be culturally understanding. I'm not saying be week. Nowhere in any book or COIN manual does it say the COIN is nice. It's hard, ugly work. It gets nasty, but we have to do it the right way through their culture. It's going to take time.
VP Biden is looking at this problem from a very linear standpoint. This situation is as far from linear as it can get. The people are our target. We have to give them something to stand on and believe in. It starts with mentoring the ANSF. We fight the corruption, we build their capacity and we get them to really protect and support the people of Afghanistan. Killing bad guys is good, but we don't need to kill all of them. Get them to work for us. If the people feel safe and they believe the AFG forces are going to stick around and do the right thing, then the information comes out of the wood work.
Something else. Their democracy will never be like ours. Get that idea out of your heads. Our cultures are way to different. What we have to do is take our ideas and use their culture as the conduit. Not the other way around.
Next piece. It's going to take more troops. We have to help them fix their own problems on a mass scale. Not piece-mail. We have to be partnered up across the nation. SOF and conventional alike. I know some people don't agree with me on this, but this is the way I see it. I have seen it work and it will work with the proper support.
RB, how is that for a rant?
Oh, take this for what it is. I'm just another asshole in a large group of asshole's who thinks they have it figured out.