CFR interviews Stephen Biddle about the war in Afghanistan. This is about as positive a spin you can put on the situation:
We're at one of those moments where it's very hard to tell whether things are going well or badly. Counterinsurgency always has this "darkest before the dawn" quality. When you start with a tough situation, you introduce reinforcements and you begin to contest insurgent control of population areas they now control, violence then rises. Enemy causalities go up, causalities to your own forces rise, casualties to civilians increase, general mayhem rises. If you succeed, you gain political control of these populations and violence eventually comes down. From an early increase in violence, you can't deduce that you're winning or that you're losing because you would see exactly the same thing either way at this point in the war.
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