The question has always been: should America and its allies be in Afghanistan in the first place? In fact, if al-Qaeda and its cronies were ever going to be beaten, then it was Pakistan that should have been occupied and not its next door neighbour. If Pakistan hadn't supplied the weapons, the training and its tacit approval to run riot, then the Taleban would never have become such a powerful force in Afghanistan.
The American military now say it is finally winning the battle against the Taleban, so there is an argument that says now is the time to increase the number of ground troops, instead of withdrawing over 30,000 of them in the months ahead. Politically, of course, President Obama needs to fulfil his election promise to start to bring the troops home, but in doing so is he in danger of leaving the remaining force overstretched and vulnerable?
Many foreign troops have died in Afghanistan and it would be a shameful act if, for political reasons, we were to abandon the mission there and leave the country in the hands of those who will once again take the people of that hell-hole of a country back to the middle-ages.
There is confirmation that the USA and the UK are talking with the Taleban and it would be stupid of them not to reach out to moderate elements within the insurgents, but the sad conclusion is that when foreign troops are finally withdrawn in 2014, it will be the extremists who will take charge. President Karzai runs a corrupt administration that will quickly flee the country before the last US helicopter leaves. He may even be on it.
President Obama is in a difficult no-win position, with the American public anxious he keeps his promise of a troop withdrawal and the US military itself wanting a more modest reduction in troops. Here in the UK, the Prime Minister will also want the country to see forces come home, but political expediency may result in a strenghtening of al-Qaeda, the Taleban and every other extremist organisation with ambitions to blow up America, Britain and other countries in the West.