It maybe that the time has come for the West to pull the plug on Afghanistan, to cut their losses and get out. Yes, such a move is fraught with danger. That sad country may become even more so a haven for terrorists and a safe base from which they can launch attacks on all of us.
But the war was only going to be won if the Western allies could convince the local population they were offering something better than the Taliban remembering too they (the allies) were starting from behind the 8 ball having to counter the perception they were infidel invaders in a long line of infidel invaders stretching back to the 19th century. In short, the war was never going to won unless we first won the hearts and minds of Mr and Mrs average Afghani.
It might be argued that the Americans have only ever paid lip service to this truism. Cutting through all the bullshit it appears the (in)famous quote of LBJ which had it "grab em by the balls and their hearts and minds will follow" still holds true.
Certainly the recent burning of the Qu'rans, however that event is rationalised, and now the mass murder of 16 innocents by a rogue soldier represents a major and perhaps fatal set back in the fight to establish a true and functioning democracy if indeed that were ever possible.
It gives me no great pleasure to say this but maybe, just maybe, we will need to accept that Afghanistan is a lost cause.