Fred and Kim Kagan write in the Washington Post:
Now that President Obama has authorized Gen. David Petraeus to continue to execute the current strategy in Afghanistan, the question is: Can the U.S. strategy succeed? The administration's review of its policy identified areas of progress but noted that "the challenge remains to make our gains durable and sustainable." We are confident this is possible.
Military progress in Afghanistan this year is undeniable. The campaign in Afghanistan has correctly aimed at eliminating insurgent and terrorist havens and creating conditions that will prevent their reestablishment. Coalition forces have eliminated the most important Taliban havens in Helmand and Kandahar provinces, places that had gone unchallenged for years. Military operations have disrupted a concerted Taliban campaign to launch spectacular attacks within Kabul. The dramatic increase in American, allied and Afghan special-forces operations against insurgent leaders and facilitators has damaged enemy networks. Coalition forces have seized unprecedented amounts of explosives, narcotics and other weapons, reducing their supply and steeply raising the price of a key ingredient in explosives. These gains are far more consequential than the very limited expansion of Taliban activity in the north, to which coalition and Afghan forces are in any case responding.