Ahmed Rashid argues that the Soviet and American campaigns in Afghanistan are not analogous:
The Soviets failed because they tried to apply a model that had nothing to do with the nature and traditions of the Afghan people. The Americans have also failed, mostly because they have refused to dedicate resources sufficient to win hearts and minds and defeat Taliban forces.
It is still not too late for the Americans to reverse course: the majority of the Afghan population has no desire to return to Taliban rule. What gains the Taliban have made can be attributed to fear and intimidation and the inability of the Kabul government to provide security and economic development. Many of the Taliban are fighting for local grievances and it will be worthwhile for the Americans and the Afghan government to engage these commanders and soldiers in dialogue with offers of amnesty. Afghanistan is indeed winnable and it will be won not by military force alone but by giving the Afghan people what they were promised after September 11: a new life.