Peter W. Galbraith, former overseer of Afghanistan's elections for the UN, who was fired because he wanted actions taken against the election fraud that occurred has a devastating piece in the WaPo. Money quote:
Afghanistan's presidential election, held Aug. 20, should have been a milestone in the country's transition from 30 years of war to stability and democracy. Instead, it was just the opposite. As many as 30 percent of Karzai's votes were fraudulent, and lesser fraud was committed on behalf of other candidates. In several provinces, including Kandahar, four to 10 times as many votes were recorded as voters actually cast. The fraud has handed the Taliban its greatest strategic victory in eight years of fighting the United States and its Afghan partners.
Read it all. The entire counter-insurgency option is premised on a credible government to fight counter-insurgency for. We just lost one. This matters - and makes the choice all the more excruciating, and a swifter exit much more reasonable.