by Patrick Appel

Peter Bergen thinks Afghanistan is winnable:

Even the most generous estimates of the size of the Taliban force hold it to be no more than 20,000 men, while authoritative estimates of the numbers of Afghans on the battlefield at any given moment in the war against the Soviets range up to 250,000. The Taliban insurgency today is only around 10 percent the size of what the Soviets faced. And while today’s Afghan insurgents are well financed, in part by the drug trade, this backing is not on the scale of the financial and military support that the anti-Communist guerrillas enjoyed in the 1980s. The mujahideen were the recipients of billions of dollars of American and Saudi aid, large-scale Pakistani training, and sophisticated U.S. military hardware such as highly effective anti-aircraft Stinger missiles, which ended the Soviets’ command of the air.

I'm not as optimistic, but food for thought.

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