How many times have I heard and read that the U.S. is going to "Finish the job," or "Win the war" in Afghanistan? But what does that mean? Does it mean eradicating Afghanistan of the Taliban? Why would anyone think that is possible? The Taliban are a subset of the 40 million Pashtun who live in the area. Do we plan to kill them all, or just "pacify" them forever? Nation building is one thing, but undertaking to change the character of an entire, dirt-poor and uneducated populace is hubris and conceit on steroids. In the end, there will not be, cannot be, "victory" in Afghanistan.
UPDATE: As of October 2008 officials were saying that the Taliban had severed all ties with al Qaeda.